7 structures at Raghuvanshi Mills bulldozed after HC denies relief

Violation: An illegal structure being pulled down at Raghuvanshi Mills on Monday.

Violation: An illegal structure being pulled down at Raghuvanshi Mills on Monday.  

BMC move follows inspection of hundreds of establishments after Kamala Mills fire

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday demolished seven commercial establishments within the Raghuvanshi Mills compound. The owners of the establishments, which came under the scanner after the fire at Kamala Mills, had moved court against demolition, but their petition was rejected.

On December 29, a fire at Kamala Mills claimed 14 lives. The incident prompted the civic body to inspect hundreds of restaurants, malls, and shops to check their compliance with the fire safety rules.

In the adjacent Raghuvanshi Mills on Senapati Bapat Road, Parel, the fire brigade had in January found large scale irregularities like blocked exits and storage of cylinders beyond the stipulated limit. The excess cylinders were seized and additional portions demolished.

7 structures at Raghuvanshi Mills bulldozed after HC denies relief

Most establishments had an NOC from the fire brigade. But in some cases, it was found that the entire establishments were illegal. As per the process, they were served notices for violations, and seven of them moved the city civil court.

On July 24, the court dismissed the petition, following which they approached the High Court. According to a statement released by the BMC on Monday, their appeal was rejected by the High Court as well. The HC also rejected their plea for extension of status quo for eight weeks.

The decision came around 11 a.m. on Monday, following which the BMC’s G South ward office swung into action. It engaged two JCBs, dumpers, and gas cutters along with 35 labourers and officers to undertake the demolition at Raghuvanshi Mills. The seven structures together measuring approximately 20,000 sq ft were razed. The largest structure was Natuzee and its office, together measuring 7000 sq ft. The smallest was ‘99 Pancakes’ measuring 200 sq ft. Most of them were ground+1 storey.

“We didn’t want to give the owners time to move the Supreme Court. That is why we immediately took action. During the demolition of a 22-foot-tall structure, we had a narrow escape as it came crashing down. These structures were illegal as they had encroached upon the mills’ compulsory open space,” Devendrakumar Jain, assistant municipal commissioner of G South ward, said.

Mr. Jain was referring to the open space on a plot, which is required for essential vehicles like fire engines and ambulances to move about.

“There are still 30-40 unauthorised structures within the compound. We are awaiting the court directions on them. As soon as we get the go-ahead, we will pull them down as well,” a civic official said.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 9:01:57 PM |

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