Almost a week after a fire at a Sakinaka farsan shop claimed 12 lives, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has initiated a crackdown on commercial units violating fire safety norms. During the drive, the civic body seized over 100 illegally stored LPG cylinders in just three days.
Action was first initiated in B ward (Sandhurst Road, Nagpada, Mohammed Ali Road) E ward (Byculla, Mazgaon) and F south ward (Parel). The move is the result of a circular issued on December 20, directing assistant commissioner of all 24 wards to inspect all commercial establishments to find out if they comply with fire safety norms.
Following the Sakinaka fire, officials at ward level have initiated a crackdown on such commercial units that illegally store inflammable and hazardous material like diesel, kerosene, LPG cylinders and PNG. On Thursday and Friday, officials seized over 40 LPG cylinders from commercial units in B ward. Meanwhile, officials of E ward seized 34 LPG cylinders.
E ward officials also sealed an illegal hookah parlour during the crackdown. Uday Kumar Shiroorkar, the assistant commissioner of B ward, said: “This is not the first time we are conducting such drives. However, they start operating again. It’s not just storing LPG cylinders illegally, it’s also how workers at these commercial establishments handle these cylinders. Besides, we found these units not complying with fire safety norms, making it more dangerous. This time, we want to ensure that they do not start it again.”
On Saturday, F south ward officials seized over 27 LPG cylinders from 13 commercial units in Naigaon and Sewri areas. “The crackdown will go on as we continue to inspect shops, hotels and other commercial units in the remaining areas,” said Kishor Desai, the assistant commissioner of F south ward. Another official from F south ward said: “We can just conduct a drive, inspection and seize the hazardous stuff. Following this, the fire department has to take over. We will be writing to the Mumbai Fire Brigade to conduct an inspection of the commercial units.” Last Monday, a fire engulfed Bhanu Farsan shop on Khairani road in Sakinaka, which killed 12 workers. The shop caught fire around 4.15 am, when the workers were asleep. Five labourers escaped the blaze.
As per Mumbai fire brigade’s preliminary report, the fire spread rapidly due to combustible and inflammable items like oil, diesel and LPG cylinders stored at the commercial unit. The civic body geared up to set up fire safety compliance cells, one each at 34 fire stations in the city, to work along with the civic wards to check on commercial units violating the fire safety norms.