Kamala Mills fire: 2 weeks on, demolished eateries back and buzzing
While civic officials claimed there was no encroachment, critics and politicians demand to know what then was the point of earlier demolition drive
The BMC demolished the roof that was constructed at Cafe Bandra, as the area was meant to be an open-air space
Days after the BMC bulldozed through restaurants that had encroached on open spaces or built illegal extensions, things seem have gone back to square one. Most of the eateries have taken over the open spaces yet again, with some of them boldly constructing new structures at the same spot. The BMC claims that this does not amount to encroachment, and that the restaurants have permission to serve in open spaces.
While the restaurant owners have not rebuilt the roof, they now are serving food in the open space. Pic/Shadab Khan
Establishment: Cafe Bandra
Location: Bandra West
Demolition: Cafe Bandra, which is among the more popular restaurants in Bandra west, was demolished just few days ago by H-west ward officials. According to the officials, the restaurant management had illegally constructed a roof in an area that was to be an open-air space.
Current status: The restaurant has resumed operation in the area, but has refrained from building a roof there. The management has laid out tables and chairs in the open area.
BMC says: Sharad Ugade, assistant municipal commissioner, H-west ward, said, "There are chances they have taken permission from the Health department to serve in the open area. I will have to check on this. If permission was not taken, we will take appropriate action."
The authorities demolished part of Smaaash's children play area after it was found to be an illegal extension
Location: Kamala Mills
Demolition: After the Kamala Mills blaze, the games arena Smaaash was among the first and most high-profile places to face the BMC's bulldozer. The G-south (Worli) authorities demolished part of Smaaash's children play area after it was found to be an illegal extension. After the BMC action, Smaaash moved the court, but was denied any relief. However, few other structures at the premises were not razed, as they were legal.
The same area has now been barricaded with vinyl sheets, even as construction work has started there. Pic/Satej Shinde
Current status: Reconstruction of the demolished portion has been going on since a few days. Already, the same space has been barricaded with vinyl sheets, and the area is currently in use.
BMC says: Devendra Jain, assistant municipal commissioner, G-south (Worli), said, "The structure was completely demolished as it had not been constructed as per the approved plan. Now they have been given permission to do construction as per the approved plan."
BMC had demolished the entire restaurant after the Kamala Mills blaze
Location: Kamala Mills
Demolition: Two weeks ago, the BMC demolished Pravas restaurant, which had been built to resemble a train coach. The eatery was completely demolished.
On Wednesday, mid-day found that the restaurant was being rebuilt at the same spot. Pic/Satej Shinde
Current status: Work is already on to rebuild the restaurant at the same spot. mid-day visited the spot and found welding work was being carried out on iron beams.
BMC says: Devendra Jain, AMC, G-south (Worli), said, "The structure was completely demolished as it was not constructed as per approved plans. Now they have been given permission to construct as per approved plans submitted to the building proposal department."
Civic authorities had demolished the awning on the rooftop and in the open area outside the restaurant
Location: Bandra East
Demolition: Before the Kamala Mills fire broke out, this bar and restaurant in Bandra East was fully operational, with a covered open space and rooftop area. Following the fire, however, both the rooftop area and the space outside the restaurant were cleared.
The restaurant is once again operational both outside the premises and on the rooftop, but has not re-installed the awning. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Current status: It's business as usual, with food being served in the open area outside and on the rooftop. The restaurant has not re-installed the awning in either space though.
BMC says: Despite several attempts to contact Alka Sasane, assistant municipal commissioner of H-East ward, she was not available for comment.
The BMC had carried out major demolition at TAP, razing the entire structure built outside the restaurant
Location: Andheri West
Demolition: This restaurant had encroached on open space, according to BMC officials, who took stringent action and demolished the entire permanent structure built outside as open-air seating. The civic body also seized all the furnishings in this outdoor space.
Two weeks on, the restaurant owners have once again erected the fence that had been demolished. Pic/Sameer Markande
Current status: Two weeks later, the restaurant has placed new tables and chairs in the same area and have also rebuilt the fence that was demolished by the BMC.
BMC says: Prashant Gaikwad, AMC of K-west ward, said, "There are provisions under which the restaurant owners can apply for permission to serve in open spaces, with tables, chairs and umbrellas. I will have to check if the restaurant has been given permission for the same or not."
The other side
When mid-day visited Chinar bar and restaurant in Bandra East, the staff refused to comment and said, "We will get back to you once the management is here. We are also in touch with BMC over the issue and looking into all aspects." However, till the time of going to press, there was no response from the eatery.
The public relations team for Smaaash and Pravas stated that the owner (common to both) was currently unavailable for comment. Other restaurants remained unavailable for comment as well.
Input by Dhara Vora Sabhnani
58 No. of eateries sealed for major fire safety violations
1,087 Number of eateries issued notice for fire safety violations
15 No. of days the eateries have for compliance
1,685 No. of eateries with illegal stock of cylinders
963 No. of demolitions of eateries with illegal alterations
Kamala Mills Fire: Shocking scenes from the fire that killed many