January 2, 2021 10:58:19 pm
Two months after a major fire broke out at the Orchid City Centre mall at Mumbai Central, the civic body here demolished over 200 unauthorised shops on the premises. The fire, which broke out on October 22, was doused after a 56-hour operation, one of the longest in the city.
The mall’s second and a floor above were completely gutted. Many owners had constructed mezzanine floors in their shops, and bigger shops had divided their space into smaller ones with false walls. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) demolished 200 such shops and mezzanine floors.
The Mumbai Fire Brigade investigation had found that as per the mall’s blueprint, there were only 344 permitted galas (shops). However, a total of 1,344 shops were functioning when the fire broke out.
The BMC’s standing committee last week had asked the ward officer to submit the details of action taken against the mall and not allow it to reopen until all the illegalities were removed.
Till 2005, the mall housed supermarkets and other retail shops. However, later the management converted the premises into smaller shops which were rented to mobile and electronics wholesalers. There was a stay order by the city civil court on converting the third-floor area into smaller shops.
In November, the BMC had told the Bombay High Court, which was hearing an application by four shop owners to reopen the mall, that it would not allow the mall to be reopened until a complete inspection. The Mumbai Fire Brigade also revoked the fire no-objection certificate given to the mall. The BMC will also check the structural stability of the remaining structure before allowing it to reopen.
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