One of the city’s most popular haunts for diners and party animals could well be a huge fire trap. Home to restaurants, pubs, night clubs and lounges, the century-old Mathuradas Mill compound in Lower P arel, which also houses offices, resembles a busy marketplace during the day and even at the stroke of midnight.
The Mathuradas Mill compound is always packed with people and cars. Pic/SATYAJIT DESAI
Its narrow lanes, once used to ferry carts and small commercial vehicles, now see hundreds of cars jostling for space with an equal number of pedestrians. Both revellers and those who come here to work agree that the narrow lanes and primitive fire safety equipment are causes for concern. The city fire department has hauled up several mills and old commercial complexes and made them upgr
ade their fire safety measures, but maybe one has slipped past. Parking trouble, in fact, is just one of its major problems.
At night, when diners, party animals and pedestrians vie for space, it spells chaos. Only one vehicle can enter or exit the main gate of the mill at any given point. Driving to a restaurant inside the compound may take 30 minutes. Getting out — an eternity.
A fire trap?
No fire extinguishers are visible in the open or outside any commercial property as one walks by, contrary to fire department rules. “Most restaurants are open till 1 am and all entry and exit points see a huge traffic jam with everyone honking, almost till 2 am. This is a regular sight,” said a security person manning a gate.
When contacted, H V Hivrale from the fire brigade department, who is in charge of the zone, said, “So far we have not received any particular complaint, nor have we collected any recent report on the fire safety standards there.”
Keshav Ubale, assistant municipal commissioner of G south ward said, “We will check on the parking issue and report the situation to the traffic department.”