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FIRE AT CENTRE ONE AGAIN RAISES CONCERNS OF VIOLATIONS OF FIRE SAFETY NORMS IN CITY MALLS

center-one-NMTV News was the first to air a report on how a disaster awaits Center One Mall due to gross violations of fire safety norms way back in 2006. The predictions and concerns came true late Sunday night at around 9:30 pm when a major fire was reported at one of the shops of the 1st floor of Center One that spread like wild fire. The mall evidently stopped the entry of media persons to the mall. The incident has once again raised concerns of violations of fire safety norms. It may be recalled that NMTV News had aired a report July 26, 2006 on how exits sold for commercial purpose at Centre One mall at Vashi were posing as dangers and were in complete violation of fire safety norms. At that time NMTV News had reported how at the NMMC Town planning office, the town-planning officers looking into the matter had informed us that in its proposed design the third floor of the mall was for an exhibition hall. However, the Center One management had allegedly illegally converted this into a food court selling the entire floors to hotels and restaurants. This wasn’t it. None of the eating outlets had even procured the NOC from either the NMMC Fir Fighting Dept or Health Dept. and yet these eating outlets were using LPG cylinders and mega-watts electrical appliances. The then NMMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sanjay Pattiwar had informed NMTV News that his office has not issued any license to any outlet here. In his letter to Centre One, NMMC TPO and Health Dept., Navi Mumbai Fire Fighting Chief R T Mhatre, clearly stated that the blatant violations by Centre One administration. Speaking to us, the then NMMC Fire Fighting Chief R T Mhatre explained in detail that in any situation fire exits should not be closed or covered. According to him, he had visited Centre One for inspection in person and saw for himself how the exits were sold commercially posing as danger during any fire incident. After his inspection, R T Mhatre had spoken to us. The Fire Fighting Chief had expressed concern saying that the violation of fire safety norms can prove to be disastrous claiming hundreds of lives and added that the NMMC administration will be accountable for the same. Since the violations have been done after the plan was approved at the TPO, now it is the NMMC encroachment dept. that will take action in the case. DMC – Encroachment N N Alhat said that after receiving the letter from their fire dept. prompt action will be taken by his dept. In our report NMTV News had voiced concern that since the mall witnessed crowd everyday and the weekends’ rush was more, it could spell a big disaster for Center One Mall. NMTV News predictions come came true this weekend when a major fire was reported on one of the shops on the 1st floor of the mall. The fire spread like wild fire and it took 5 fire engines to rush to the mall to extinguish the fire. The mall owners evidently did not permit the media to enter as their fire safety violations would have been exposed gross violations of fire safety norms by the mall. The fire started in a clothes shop, Adams, on the first floor which spread instantly in the mall. The police on the spot informed that the mall owners did not even bother to call them. He said that they were informed about the control room about the incident. With the shop glass strewn around, two persons got injured. The fire erupted late at 11 in the night and five fire engines were called on the spot. Sources reveal that since the fire took place on the first floor at a time when the mall had almost shut down it averted a major disaster. If the fire had taken place on the food court at a rush hour, hundreds of lives would have been lost. Time and again NMTV News has highlighted how fire safety norms are being violated in commercial malls and high rises but the power of money time and again purchases the conscience of authorities even if it is at the stake of putting the lives of innocent citizens at risk. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Nilofar Shaikh for NMTV News.

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