THREE DAYS back, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had issued a fire safety advisory to Sadhana Mill Industrial Estate. According to BMC officials, this was a part of their week-long fire safety drive before December 31.
In light of last year’s Kamala Mills compound fire which killed 14, the civic body had started sending letters to commercial and residential establishments.
“On December 27, a letter of fire safety advisory from the ward was issued to Sadhana House. In the letter, we suggested that they carry out fire and electrical audit of their building following the recent fire accidents at various locations in G-south ward. Also, a similar letter was sent to the industrial estate six months back,” Assistant Municipal Commissioner of G-south ward (Worli, Mahalaxmi), Devendra Jain told The Indian Express.
He added, “However, whether they have taken fire prevention measures or not it can be ascertained only after investigations. We will check all the documents and plans of the building.”
Just sending advisories can’t absolve BMC of responsibility
SENDING A fire safety advisory to the residential or commercial building, although a preventive measure, does not absolve the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) of its responsibility of acting against violations. The BMC and Mumbai Fire Brigade have been given powers under Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act and the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Act, respectively to carry out inspections and take stringent action against violations. But violation complaints are rarely followed with concrete steps to ensure they are not repeated. Fire safety programmes by fire brigade and BMC do not have expected effect as they don’t have a broad reach and many citizens are still unaware of basic fire prevention measures.
G-south had also issued 1,300 fire advisory letters to residential, commercial and industrial establishments or places where there is public gathering to conduct fire and electrical audits. Letters give suggestions like common passage/entrances/exit should not be encroached upon by goods or other means, electrical wires should not be loose or faulty, fire escapes, stairs and fire passages should not be blocked, fire-fighting equipment should be kept in working conditions, among others.
Officials had also held meetings with hoteliers to teach them about fire safety and preventions. “During the meeting we just explained to them what needs to be done for fire-safe premises. Many of them did not know about basic fire safety. We have also written a letter to the BEST to inspect their meter readings to check if the electricity consumed is more than their capacity. Also, letters were sent to PWD suggesting they conduct an electrical audit in their buildings,” said Jain.