Kamala Mills fire: BMC to carry out probe panel’s recommendations

Municipal Commissioner says directives will be implemented in next few weeks

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Ajoy Mehta has instructed senior officers to implement the recommendations of the committee set up to probe the fire at the Kamala Mills compound last year.

Mr. Mehta, who heads the committee, which released its findings last month, said: “Most of the directives will be implemented in the next couple of weeks.” Officials at various levels of the BMC have been entrusted with enforcing the recommendations of the committee. One of the major directives was for the Executive Health Officer (EHO) to add a condition in the licensing rules that “health licences will be cancelled automatically if any establishment is served an Inspection Report thrice in a year and seizure action will be initiated if they are served a notice twice.”

The Director (Estate and Planning) and the Chief Engineer (Development Plan) will coordinate with the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) to check whether establishments located in Kamala Mill compound are operating in accordance with the Information Technology policy of the State government. Officials will also have to report any deviations and violations of the law and take appropriate action as stated under the policy.

Kamala Mills, which is designated as an IT park, was granted extra Floor Space Index (FSI) of 1.33. Under the IT policy, extra FSI is granted on the condition that 80% of the built up area is to be used for IT-related purposes. The Chief Engineer (Planning) has been instructed to look into FSI violations by establishments in Kamala Mills.

Check FSI violations

The committee had observed in its report that the FSI granted to Kamala Mills under the IT policy might have been misused. Mr. Mehta said, “A committee has been set up to look into the matter. They will take around three months to come up with their findings.”

The EHO has been instructed to guide the Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association (AHAR) to set up an independent audit wing to ensure that members of AHAR comply with fire safety norms. In a letter to the Municipal Commissioner on January 31, AHAR had requested if a few fire safety norms could be reviewed. AHAR officials asked if they could use flour instead of sand to tackle the initial stages of a kitchen fire as it went against the norms of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

Chief Engineer (Development Plan) has been asked to make necessary changes in the law and the Development Control Regulation to make interior decorators more accountable. Mr. Mehta said, “Architects are accountable under the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, but there is no regulation on decorators.”

Establishments will also have to appoint a fire safety officer to secure a no objection certificate from the Chief Fire Officer. The Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Removal of Encroachment) has been instructed to ensure monsoon sheds in establishments should only be one meter in height.

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Printable version | May 19, 2020 8:35:56 PM |

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