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MAJOR DISASTER AVERTED AT FIRE CRACKERS STALL AT PALM BEACH – WILL NMMC CHANGE LOCATION NEXT YEAR

crackers-stalls-1The fire-cracker stalls installed under high-tension area at Palm Beach road each year pose huge threat – not just for sellers but even buyers. A visit to the stalls show that not even one of the stalls have any fire safety measures. What’s worse is that at a time when NMMC Fire Chief Vijay Rane should be at on duty, he was on a Diwali holiday. Every year NMMC allotted stalls to firework sellers parallel to Palm Beach road in Vashi right under high tension wires. The stalls dot the stretch of the road for almost a fortnight of the Diwali celebrations. The concern is that these stalls, each containing fireworks worth lakhs of Rupees, despite being right behind a hospital, a school, a college and Maharashtra State Board HQ, none of the fire stalls erected under high-tension wires had any safety measures in place. The unexpected rains only exposed the gravity of the situation further. With heavy lightning and rain, there was a short circuit that led to panic among stall owners. The stall owners however blamed NMMC for the danger and threat as they paid rent from 8,500 to 10,500 there were no safety measures in place. The rains and short circuit completely exposed the huge danger and disaster that could have happened at the stalls this year. At the Vashi ward office Ward Officer, Ashok Madhavi tossed the blame on Turbhe ward office. Until last year, the stalls came under the Vashi ward office but according to Ashok Madhvi, it is only this year that he found out that the stalls come under the Turbhe ward office and not the Vashi ward office. He refused to give a statement on camera but did say that the NMMC’s responsibility is only to give space. The rest of the responsibility is of the stall owners and their association. The association has to get relevant permissions from the police, MSEDC and also from the NMMC fire department. The Turbhe ward officer on the other hand was not on duty as he was on a Diwali vacation. The bigger shock came later when we visited the NMMC Fire Brigade and were told that NMMC Fire Fighting Chief Vijay Rane too was on a Diwali holiday. It is ironical that the NMMC Fire Chief took a holiday at Diwali time, when it is a crucial period when anything can happen anytime as fire crackers are burst all over the city. And as far as the stalls at Palm Beach Road is concerned, it is another example of how fire safety norms continue to be violated and lives of innocent citizens are put at risk due to the irresponsible attitude of authorities. With cameraperson Deepak Kamble, Shilpa Suryawanshi for NMTV News.

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