Make In India blaze: Demand to penalise event company rising steadily

Feb 17, 2016, 08:42 IST | Tanvi Deshpande

While the probe into Sunday night’s fire at Girgaum Chowpatty is still on, demands to penalise the event management company are rising steadily. The demand comes on the lines of a similar move at Deonar recently, when the BMC had penalised the contractor with a Rs 22 crore fine, since a fire broke out under his authority.

Also Read: Make in India: Once burned, still not so shy

The fire broke out underneath the stage during Make in India week’s Maharashtra night, engulfing it and causing chaos. Pic/PTI
The fire broke out underneath the stage during Make in India week’s Maharashtra night, engulfing it and causing chaos. Pic/PTI

Similarly, it is being demanded that the state government penalise the event contractors Wizcraft for the mishap.

A fire devastated the Maharashtra Night celebrations on Sunday night, which were a part of the ongoing Make in India week. The fire broke out underneath the stage, engulfing it and causing chaos. About 14 fire engines and 10 water tankers had to be pressed into service and it took the brigade about an hour to douse the fire.

Read Story: Make In India event fire: With Rs 25 crore insurance money on the line, blame game on

After Sunday’s fire, questions are now being asked on why shouldn’t Wizcraft be penalised for the incident, since it happened under their authority.

Two fire engines had been stationed at Chowpatty, which turned out to be grossly inadequate after the massive fire.

More engines had to be called in, but they took a while to reach the spot as the area had tremendous traffic congestion.

The fire brigade as well as the police is now probing the matter to ascertain if there was any negligence.

Police says
“There is absolutely no chance of a sabotage but even then we have sent a sample of the debris to the forensic lab. We are now waiting for the fire brigade’s report to decide on further action. If it shows criminal negligence displayed by anyone, then action will be taken. Otherwise, the file will be closed,” said Pandurang Shinde, senior police inspector of D B Marg police station.

No such agreement
MIDC CEO Bhushan Gagrani said, “We did not have any such agreement with Wizcraft directly. It is the CII that was in touch with them. Therefore, we are not aware of any action.” When asked if the fire brigade will levy any penalty on the company, Chief Fire Officer P S Rahangdale said, “I can’t say anything as of now. Let the report be ready. Then the authorities will decide what action should be taken.” When mid-day contacted Wizcraft’s media team, they said they did not have anything new to say apart from the statement released on Monday. Commenting on the issue, Congress corporator Devendra Amberkar said, “There should definitely be action against the company since they did not take precautionary measures. The fire broke out due to several lapses on their part. The fire brigade had warned them. Action should be taken.”

BMC chief waived off fire engine fee
The fire brigade generally charges a hiring fee and a deposit for every fire engine that is rented out for events. The objective of the deposit is to recover any damage to equipment and to recover money if the number of hours is exceeded. The hiring fee is Rs 7,260 for the first three hours followed by Rs 2,250 for every subsequent hour. The deposit is Rs 32,220. Both have to be paid in advance. But for Sunday’s event at Girgaum Chowpatty, the municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta had waived off the fee, since it was a state government event.

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