Fifty teams made up of over 1,000 workers of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation demolished 314 allegedly illegal constructions on Saturday in what could be BMC’s biggest crackdown on restaurants in a day. The civic administration’s action comes a day after the 1Above resto-pub in Kamala Mills went up in flames killing 14 people.
The civic administration cracked down on alleged encroachments in the Kamala Mills area and Raghuvanshi Mills in Lower Parel. The BMC’s demolition machinery also went to restaurants such as Mini Punjab Hotel at Powai, TAP on the Andheri Link Road, Kobe and Crystal Point in Andheri, Woodland Hotel Terrace Pub at Juhu, Supreme Spice restaurant at Goregaon, Take it Easy at Andheri west, Neelyog Mall and R City mall at Ghatkopar, V S Bar at Mulund, among others.
Three additional municipal commissioners participated in the demolition drive and visited most of the spots.
BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta called an urgent meeting and directed all zonal deputy municipal commissioners and assistant municipal commissioners to form teams in the 24 wards of the city, including officials from Building and Factory department, Medical Officer of Health and the fire brigade to conduct inspections of all restaurants.
On Saturday, medical officers of a few teams sealed at least seven restaurants for flouting norms. This included Flamings Hotel and Soi Kitchen in Chembur and KFC in Bandra. “The team found a mosque structure inside an area being used as visitor’s car park by KFC,” said a BMC official.
Safety code for pubs, lounges
A separate set of guidelines will be issued for fire safety in pubs and lounges, civic officials said. “How can a city like Mumbai not have a special set of guidelines for night-outs?” said a senior civic official. Civic commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “We will revise the present guidelines, incorporating fire safety provisions for such places.”
Power, water supply cut
With the authorities cutting off water and power supply at restaurants at Kamala Mills compound, confusion prevailed among restaurateurs. “We want to start business by Sunday evening, but we don’t know if that will be possible,” said a management representative of POH. Many restaurants, fearing demolition, removed boards and parapets fearing they may be crossing permissible limits for construction. While not many customers turned up on Saturday, the few who did had to leave disappointed.
Precautions for nightlife zones
The CM has asked authorities to ensure that adequate fire safety precautions are in place before rolling out nightlife zones where eateries, pubs and entertainment zones can remain open through the night, sources said. The initial plan was to designate such zones in non-residential pockets in South and Central Mumbai, including Lower Parel. The other pockets including Veer Nariman Road, Ballard Pier and Horniman Circle, sources said, agreed to the need for assessing infrastructure.