A fireman assists in rescue operations after a fire broke out in a building in Mumbai on Friday. At least 14 people were killed and as many injured after a major fire in Kamala Mills Compound in Lower Parel. (Source: PTI)

Mumbai Pub Fire: BMC Continues Crackdown On Illegal Structures

The city civic body continued to raze unauthorised structures of restaurants, hotels and other food joints for the third day today, after a fire in an upscale pub here claimed 14 lives on Friday.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, which initiated the demolition drive two days back, has decided to deal strictly and not heed to requests by pubs and hotel owners to delay the action in view of New Year celebrations.

"We want to remove every unauthorised structure at restaurants, pubs, malls, food joints, other eateries and hotels. We are asking managers or owners of such properties to remove it on their own or else we will bring it down," BMC spokesperson Ram Dotonde said.

Also Read: Kamala Mills Fire: Public Relations Body Starts Campaign

He said their teams on the field have the documents of structures which are unauthorised or illegal. “Hardly any manager or owner is opposing our action as we have proof," Dotonde said. The BMC teams will continue with their work of razing illegal structures and a detailed report will be compiled by the evening.

Another BMC official said they were using the opportunity to remove the maximum number of unauthorised structures. Some pub and hotel owners used to request to delay the action, especially during New Year celebrations, but this time the BMC has decided not to listen to such requests, and take action, he said.

The civic officials in Mumbai yesterday demolished illegal structures at 314 sites.
The BMC also sealed seven hotels and around 417 LPG cylinders during the action, it said yesterday in a release. The civic body also directed its officials to form teams to ensure that restaurants and bars follow safety norms, in view of the New Year parties.

Civic chief Ajoy Mehta, in a message earlier to all BMC assistant municipal commissioners and deputy commissioners, said that all zonal deputy commissioners and ward officers were asked to form teams comprising officials from building and factory departments, medical health officer and the fire department. The teams will inspect all restaurants in their respective wards and ensure they are fire-compliant, the message said. The premises should have fire-escape routes, staircases and open spaces, free from encroachment, it added.

Meanwhile, Social, which was mentioned by BMC as one of the restaurants/pubs whose illegal extensions were demolished yesterday, stated that it has no property in the Kamala Mills area and that its name was incorrectly mentioned by the civic body.