Chembur High Rise Fire: Furious residents blame builder for dilly-dallying on giving OC

Updated: 29 December, 2018 18:05 IST | Chetna Sadadekar | Mumbai

The residents of Chembur's Sargam society claim that they had been begging him to speed up the NOC for fire safety and an OC, to no avail

A charred flat in the building
A charred flat in the building

A day after the massive fire that killed five of their neighbours, furious residents of Sargam Society lodged an FIR against its developer and his two partners, with the Tilak Nagar police. They claim they had been begging him for an Occupation Certificate (OC) as it is issued after verification of a proper functional fire-fighting system and building plans, but he kept putting them off.

According to rules, one should only occupy houses that have an OC, but locals said a majority of the buildings in Tilak Nagar do not have OCs. Residents of Sargam Society, which is a ground plus 15-storey building, said that the builder, Reliance Realtors, has failed to form a society for them. They also said it was only after a financial contribution amongst themselves that they installed fire extinguishers which the builder had failed to provide. However, fire officials said that none of the extinguishers were in working condition and hence there was a delay in fire-fighting.

LPG cylinders also exploded in some of the flats due to the fire. Pics/Atul Kamble
LPG cylinders also exploded in some of the flats due to the fire. Pics/Atul Kamble

All residents evacuated
The Fire Brigade has informed the local civic ward office to disconnect electricity and water supply to the building. The residents of A and C wing too were evacuated and had to stay outside their houses. The fire consumed household articles, beds, false ceiling, clothes, electric wiring and electric installations, doors, windows, TVs, wooden furniture, and LP gas cylinders in flat Nos. 1101, 1102, 1103 and 1104 on the 11th floor. The LP gas cylinder explosion in flat No. 1103/04 was also observed by the Fire Brigade.

Mumbai Fire: Five Seniors Killed In Chembur Highrise Massive Blaze

Shankar Lanke, a 10 th floor resident said, "We are old tenants when the building was housed only 36 tenants but now it houses 142 families. The builder gave us houses after almost eight years and nothing has been done properly in the building for us. We have to pay for the maintenance when it is his responsibility, as so far a society has not been formed." PS Rahangdale, Chief Fire Officer, said, "The fire systems were not in working condition and the narrow space led to more issues during fire-fighting. An FIR was filed and we are party to it."

Flats 1101, 1102, 1103 and 1104 on the 11th  floor were gutted
Flats 1101, 1102, 1103 and 1104 on the 11th floor were gutted

Police speak
Reliance Realtors' Hemendra Mapra, and his two partners — Subhak Mapra and Kothari — have been named in the FIR that has been filed by the society members. Shahaji Umap, deputy commissioner of police said, "The residents said the building had gone in for redevelopment in May 2006 and possession was given in 2014. The fire system was totally out of order and the mandatory 15th floor refuge area was blocked by constructing a wall. We have lodged an FIR against them for endangering the lives of the residents."

No. of residents killed in the fire

Pay and Park
The BMC will act on priority basis to identify a location for a Pay and Park area as the approach road to the building was jammed due to parking on both sides on Thursday night, delaying the fire-fighting operations. Ward officer of M West ward, Prithviraj Chavan said, "We will do a feasibility study and identify the location for a Pay and Park lot so parking is not done haphazardly. We have handed over the plot's details to MHADA along with various other files as the building is on the authority's land, and it is the planning authority." Civic officials confirmed the OC was not given.

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First Published: 29 December, 2018 17:59 IST

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