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Activists demand fire audits of high rises after Kamala Mills fire tragedy

In the backdrop of the fire in two restaurants at Kamala Mills on Friday killing 14, activists have demanded that complete fire safety and social audit should be conducted to check violations and encroachments in high rises and structures in city’s biggest commercial hub Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), where many restaurants and bars have opened up in the recent years.

Activists have demanded that authorities such as Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) Fire department and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) should investigate into the illegalities in restaurants at BKC.

A simple search shows there are around 40 restaurants and pubs that are functional in BKC and have come up in recent years with several multinational companies being in the same area. Further, the MMRDA is the special planning authority (SPA) of the business complex measuring around 370 hectares.

Vasant Patil, ALM from the western suburbs, said, “There are serious violations in restaurants and pubs located in areas like BKC, Bandra, Khar and further in western suburbs which needs to be looked into. Ultimately we need to change our mindset towards the elite joints and hotels which are not touched or people are not bothered because of which we saw the fire on Friday. The authorities need to conduct a social audit to conclude whether such joints and high-rises are even safe to be in.”

RTI activist Anil Galgali, said, “There are hundreds of violations in BKC, which also include encroaching of open spaces and multinational companies encroaching refugee areas that are required to be kept untouched. I have filed RTI’s and exposed several times but no action is taken against the violators. A proper safety audit should be conducted by MMRDA, fire department and BMC to check whether these violations could also result in loss of lives during emergencies like fire.”

On Friday, a fire broke out in two restaurants namely Mojo’s Bistro and 1Above where 14 people lost their lives and police registered cases against the owners of Mojo’s Bistro and 1Above. The BMC also have gone on a rampage after the fire due to which it has conducted demolition of hundreds of hotels on Saturday and Sunday.

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