Juhu building fire: Labourers had no chance of survival when cylinders exploded

Labourers and outsiders packed in 17 makeshift iron-and-wood boxes in the stilt area of the Juhu building, leaving no hope of survival when the gas cylinders exploded

Charred remains of the dingy, wooden box-like structures, where the labourers resided. Pic/Sneha Kharabe
Charred remains of the dingy, wooden box-like structures, where the labourers resided. Pic/Sneha Kharabe

The developer of the under-construction Prarthana building in Juhu, where a fire broke out late on Wednesday, won't just face police action; the firm's entire project will be affected now. The K-west ward office will be writing to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's building proposal department to take serious action on the developer for flouting the IOD (Intimation of Disapproval) condition of providing safety to labourers.

The fire was caused by a gas cylinder explosion in the Prarthana building. Pic/Nimesh DaveThe fire was caused by a gas cylinder explosion in the Prarthana building. Pic/Nimesh Dave

The fire that killed six and injured 12 in the 13-storey under-construction building is likely to push back the completion of the project. It will delay handing over of possession to the 26 buyers. According to the details of the project available on the Real Estate Regulatory Authority's (RERA's) website, of the 42 flats being built in the high-rise, 26 had been booked.

Also read - Juhu building fire: Toddler's toilet call saves her family, 5 others

Gross negligence
The IOD instructs developers to follow all rules, regulations and directives related to the safety of construction labourers issued by the state government.

BMC's local ward office has decided to write to the building proposal department to initiate action in this case. According to civic officials, once a show-cause notice is issued to the developer, construction work will be hampered until satisfactory safety measures are implemented.

Also read - JVPD building fire: Labourers were packed in 6x10 feet box structures

"The IOD condition states that safety measures need to be taken and there should be a safety officer posted on site, but all of this was missing. Hence, we will be issuing a report of the incident to the BP department, asking it to take action against the developer," said a senior civic official from K-west ward.

As per initial reports by the fire department, important norms were flouted, namely labourers using LPG cylinders, which could have led to the spreading of the fire, and them housed in makeshift box-like accommodation on the premises.

Assistant municipal commissioner of K-west ward said, "The designated officer of the ward will be writing to the building proposal department to carry out further action, as it was noticed that safety norms were flouted and cylinders were used at a construction site."

Also read: 6 dead, 11 injured after fire breaks out in under construction building

Despite attempts, no one from the developer's office was available for a comment. And tries to reach Abhishekh Kabra, brother of Manish Kabra, a partner in the firm and registered with RERA, ended in naught.

Checklist
While IOD clearances from the environment department, tree authority, and residents' fire safety were in place, helping the developer to get the commencement certificate, BMC officials said somewhere along the way, the workers' safety aspect was neglected, leading to the disaster.

42
Total number of flats in the high-rise

26
Number of buyers investing in the project

12
Number of injured in the fire

06
Number of people killed


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