Kalbadevi: BMC turns up the heat, inspects buildings for irregularities

After the fire in Gokul Niwas, civic body holds drive probing, seizing inflammable material in Kalbadevi buildings

In a first, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has completed inspection of 600 of the 5,000-odd buildings in Kalbadevi following the fire in Gokul Niwas, which saw the death of four firemen.

A committee formed to probe the Kalbadevi fire said it was caused by short circuit and made recommendations. File pic
A committee formed to probe the Kalbadevi fire said it was caused by short circuit and made recommendations. File pic

The drive included inspection of old buildings, seizure of inflammable material and prosecution. The civic body now wants to make this a sustained campaign. On May 9, a four-storeyed building called Gokul Niwas in Kalbadevi’s Hanuman gully caught fire owing to a short circuit.

Although no civilian was injured, four firemen, including chief fire officer Sunil Nesrikar died in the mishap. Soon after, a committee was formed by the BMC to probe the incident and in a report submitted to the Chief Minister, the committee ruled short-circuit as the cause of fire.

It also highlighted several illegalities in the building, lacunae on part of various disaster control agencies, as well as suggestions for the future. Additional municipal commissioner Sanjay Deshmukh was then given responsibility for ensuring implementation of recommendations made in the fire report.

Thus, a team of 10 officials from C ward was constituted, including senior inspector (licence), assistant engineer (maintenance), assistant engineer (water works), senior inspector (removal of encroachment), building and factory, property tax assessors, health officer and others. The officers were given a target for covering a certain number of buildings every day.

They have inspected 600-odd premises in the past three months. Most of these buildings are about 100 years old. “In our inspection, we found several illegal water connections, use of residential property as commercial, 400 illegal gas chimneys, stored LPG cylinders, encroachment on floors and other violations.

Besides, we found several loose electrical wires, which will now be corrected,” informed additional municipal commissioner Pallavi Darade. Darade lauded the ward officials for their sustained effort and said that this will be a sustained campaign in other parts of the city too.

More buildings will be inspected and similar action will be taken. The ward office has now sent notices to all the defaulters in this case and if they don’t comply, prosecution will be launched against them.

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