The City Centre mall, which was gutted by fire last month, will not be allowed to reopen unless illegal constructions inside are demolished, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said on Wednesday. Standing Committee chairman Yashwant Jadhav directed the civic administration to not allow the mall to reopen unless the illegal constructions are removed. The preliminary fire brigade report revealed the fire started from gala (commercial areas or small shops demarcated for business) number 689 on the second floor of the building. However, as per BMC records, the mall has 344 sanctioned galas.
Opposition leader Ravi Raja has alleged there are massive illegal constructions inside the mall. “The BMC-approved plan shows 344 galas, but the mall had1,344. BMC should first take action against these violations, and then allow the mall to operate,” Raja said.
As per the investigation, the fire started due to a short circuit. “Following the fire safety violation, the fire brigade has disconnected electricity and water supply of the mall,” the preliminary report started. It added that on July 29, the mall administration had conducted a fire safety audit and submitted a report stating that the building was fire safe.
In the last Standing Committee meeting, Jadhav had also ordered a probe into the role of civic and fire officials in the mall fire, and had asked for a report to be submitted in 15 days.The fire broke out on October 22 in the three-storey mall around 8.30 pm. Later that night, it spread to other floors. It was doused after 56 hours.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Fire Brigade has said they have also sent a notice to Atria Mall in Worli for fire safety violations under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006. A team of engineers will visit Atria to find out if there exist any constructions beyond the approved plans.
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