Corporators across party lines on Friday demanded that the process of giving permissions for new parties be made stringent following the major fire in the Kamala Mills Compound. At a Standing Committee meeting on Friday held at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation headquarters, amid a furore, some corporators also asked for action against officials for the fire at Sakinaka 10 days ago, in which 12 people died.
As soon Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta announced his decision to suspend five officials and transfer the ward officer of G South ward, a few corporators argued that similar action should be against ward officials of the L ward also. “Twelve people died in a fire in an illegal farsan shop on Khairani road in Sakinaka. Despite the shop being registered with the shops and establishment department of L ward, the officials were clueless whether the shop owner had procured required licences. Why is no action taken against them? The only difference is that the farsan shop was located in a slum, while 1 Above was a popular hangout. We have demanded action against L ward officials,” said Abhijit Samant, BJP corporator.
Members of the Standing Committee and corporators from across party lines came together to slam the civic body over its failure to ensure that commercial units and restaurants are fire safety compliant and are not flouting any norms.
“Kamala Mills Compound houses some of the very popular and upmarket eateries, but does the civic body have an account of how many of these restaurants have been flouting rules? Neither the Fire Brigade nor BMC officials took this seriously until now, when 14 innocent people lost their lives. I demand that the ward officer be sacked, transferring him is not a solution,” said leader of the opposition Ravi Raja.
Others including Rais Shaikh of Samajwadi Party, Prabhakar Shinde of BJP and Leader of the House Yashwant Jadhav also demanded that stringent action be taken against the assistant municipal commissioner of G South ward.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar has said that the BMC will soon conduct a fire audit in all malls, restaurants, eateries, pubs, bars and hookah parlours. “Just two days ago, I met the Mumbai Police commissioner, urging him to act against hookah parlours. We will conduct a fire audit soon and our major target will be these hookah parlours. If any of these establishments are found to be flouting fire safety norms, we will shut them immediately until they comply with the norms,” added Mahadeshwar.