The Kamala Mills fire: a look at how the events unfolded

Corrupt officials behind illegal, fire-prone buildings: corporators

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Corporators, while moving a condolence motion at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s standing committee meeting on Friday, blamed corrupt civic officials for accepting bribes to grant permission for the construction of illegal buildings in the city.

They claimed that illegal buildings lacked fire safety provisions, putting the city at high risk of fire accidents. Asif Zakaria, corporator from Bandra, said, “The city is sitting on a time bomb that could explode any time. Many rooftop restaurants are fire-traps and operating without permissions.”

BJP leader Manoj Kotak said, “About 250 hotels, pubs and and restaurants operate in Kamala Mills Compound. Many rooftop restaurants illegally ran kitchens and put up sheds well beyond the monsoon.”

Shiv Sena leader Shubada Gudekar said civic officials helped restaurants take advantage of loopholes in the law to secure licences and unauthorised extensions. She said, “Restaurant owners were advised to get stay orders from the court, which were not vacated for years. Instead of maintaining status quo, restaurants were encouraged to violate BMC’s building rules, and action was not taking against them citing the stay order.”

Opposition leader Ravi Raja demanded a judicial probe into the fire. He blamed the Building Proposal department, which functions under the commissioner, for granting Change of User permission for restaurants to function out of mills.

The corporators also demanded the suspension of the local assistant municipal commissioner. BJP leader Abhijeet Samant pointed out the municipal commissioner’s double standards for taking prompt action after the fire in Kamala Mills Compound, while ignoring the deaths of 12 people who died in a fire at a snack shop at Saki Naka two weeks ago.

Mr. Samant said, “The BMC is responsible, in one way or the other, for the death of a man who fell into a manhole, a woman who was crushed under a tree that collapsed, a woman who died after her bike skidded on an uneven stretch of road, and a girl who had a fatal fall off the back of a horse, and other accidental deaths in the city.”

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 10:15:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/corrupt-officials-behind-illegal-fire-prone-buildings-corporators/article22329157.ece

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