Kamala Mills fire: Information on safety at establishments must be made public, says BMC Chief

Updated: Jan 20, 2018, 18:00 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

BMC chief makes recommendation in Kamala Mills probe report, citing huge rents as reason behind rampant encroachment, says traders flout norms for more profit

 Fourteen people were killed in the Kamala Mills fire. File pic
Fourteen people were killed in the Kamala Mills fire. File pic

Regulatory agencies should put in place legally mandated formats as per which business premises put out information relating to safety measures in public domain - this is municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta's recommendation in the investigation report into the Kamala Mills blaze, which has been submitted to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Mehta has said that this coupled with self-policing can avert such incidents.

Trained firefighting
The report has recommended that large residential and business complexes appoint a fire safety officer, who should know the exits, is trained to fight fire during emergencies, and wears a uniform to be easily identifiable. Phone numbers of these officers will have to be submitted for record of the fire department.

Also read - Kamala Mills blaze: Activists feel Chief Fire Officer holds too much power

Another important recommendation has been made for the traders' associations - these have been asked to set up independent audit wings supervised by experts and funded by their membership fees/corpus. These auditors should carry out independent audits of their members and issue audit notes for corrective action, stated the report, adding that if a member fails to comply, his/her membership of the trade organisation should be cancelled. A senior civic official said, "Nearly 70% of the restaurants in city are running on leave-and-licence basis, and the owners are paying no heed to the property, resulting in rampant encroachment."

Illegal extentions
Questioning the heavy rents paid by several traders, terming it the reason behind the encroachment, with establishment owners illegally extending their premises to increase revenue, the civic body has put forth the recommendation of legally mandated formats for businesses to follow for putting out safety information. "It appears that the biggest contributor to the total cost incurred in setting up a restaurant is the rent; hence, there is an inclination to bring in more area under business operations, even if it means encroaching on areas not permitted," stated the report.

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