Kamala Mills fire: Blatant violations of fire-fighting norms found

Updated: Feb 13, 2020, 07:52 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

The committee recommended immediate revocation of the No Objection Certificate (NOC) given by the Chief Fire Officer and said no NOC shall be issued till the building becomes fire compliant

At least14 people died in the fire at 1 Above and Mojo's Bistro restaurants in Kamala Mills compound where 11,296 square metres, designated for fire safety, was used commercially
At least14 people died in the fire at 1 Above and Mojo's Bistro restaurants in Kamala Mills compound where 11,296 square metres, designated for fire safety, was used commercially

A committe formed by the BMC to investigate the Kamala Mills fire, has said in its report that there was blatant violation of fire-fighting norms, especially in areas meant for escape and even fire escape routes were closed, endangering the lives of occupants. The report has been submitted two years after the incident.

As per the report, around 23 per cent (22,658 sq m) of the total area was misused or fraudulently added to the officially approved built-up-area (BUA). Out of this, 11,296 square metres (around 11 per cent of the 23 per cent), designated for fire safety, was used commercially. The committee recommended immediate revocation of the No Objection Certificate (NOC) given by the Chief Fire Officer and said no NOC shall be issued till the building becomes fire compliant.

At least 14 people died in the fire at 1 Above and Mojo's Bistro restaurants in Kamala Mills compound at Parel on December 29, 2017. After the incident, as per the directions of the state government, the then municipal commissioner, Ajoy Mehta, had conducted a preliminary report. The Bombay High Court then directed the Urban Development Department (UDD) to constitute a three-member committee, which submitted its report in September 2018, that recommended stricter checks to ensure there is no violation of construction or safety norms in commercial areas.

Considering the observation and recommendations of the committee, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) formed another committee of R G Patgaonkar, dy. chief engineer (Vigilance); Jeevan Patgaonkar, retd. chief engineer (DP); N P Mane retd. chief engineer and V P Chithore, director of (ES and P) to determine FSI violations and verification of violations in IT park user at Kamala Mills. The state government had announced an IT policy in 1998. Under it 80 per cent of the total built-up-area was permitted as an IT area and the balance BUA was permitted to restaurants, gyms, small clubs, guest houses etc for supporting IT users.

The violation was in the form of encroachment and merging of fire passages, fire escape balconies, fire ducts, common lobbies etc. The violation in the 11,296 sq. m area was due to encroachment, misuse and merging of electrical rooms etc. Besides cabins and lightweight partitions in some parts, there were changes in the positions of toilets, pantry and duct areas. The committee recommended that Chief Fire Officer revoke the NOC immediately and unless the structure/ building is restored as per the approved plan, and becomes fire compliant, no NOC will be issued and action as per the Fire Prevention act will be initiated.

Six injured in fire at Bandra East

A fire broke out in a slum at Sai Ekta Chawl no 10 at Ambedkar Nagar, near Maharashtra Nagar, Bandra (E) on Wednesday. It was confined to one room but injured six people including two children. The fire was reported around 6.17 pm and extinguished around 6.53 pm said officials. However, the cause has not been ascertained yet.

Four-year-old Aliya Shaikh sustained around five per cent injuries while six-year-old Aayan Shaikh sustained around four per cent injuries. They are being treated at Bhabha Hospital in Bandra along with 22-year-old Naziya Shaikh who has suffered 10 per cent burns.

According to BMC's disaster management control cell, the others injured include 45-year-old Nagma Banu with 40 per cent burns, 30-year-old Nasrin Banu with 25 percent burns and 18-year-old Saqrin Banu with 15 per cent burns. They are being treated at Sion hospital. The dean of Sion Hospital, Dr Mohan Joshi said, "All three patients are stable."

Inputs by Chetna Sadadekar

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