After a major fire engulfed the restaurants and offices at Trade House building in Kamala Mills compound in Mumbai, leaving 14 dead and 19 injured, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) now plans a crack down on all 30 restaurants in the compound.
According to Assistant municipal commissioner of G south (lower parel) Prashant Sakpale, the civic body is preparing to start inspection of all the restaurants in the compound to find if they are fire safety compliant.
"From today itself, we will be inspecting all the restaurants in the compound and take immediate action against them. Considering festive season and just two days for New year’s Eve, we will not take any risk," added Sakpale.
He further said that there are total 30 restaurants (all licensed) in Kamala mill compound which will be inspected.
The lack of coordination between,BMC ward level officials and Mumbai Fire brigade has let many non-fire safety compliant commercial units to operate with ease.
According to this Mid-Day report published in May this year, Siddharth Mahadevan had joined hands with F&B industrialists to open Mojo's Bistro in Kamala Mills.
Police have registered an FIR under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against a pub owner at the NM Joshi Marg police station.
This comes just 10 days after 12 persons were killed in a major blaze at a shop in Andheri east.
The injured were taken to the KEM and Sion hospitals on Friday morning, an official from the BMC disaster management unit said. Doctors at KEM said those admitted at the hospital are stable and either shifted to private hospitals or discharged after primary treatment.
Police said, most of the deceased were women who were attending a birthday party at a restaurant here. They died of suffocation as they tried to escape the fire and entered a men's restroom where there was no ventilation. The 28-year-old woman celebrating her birthday was among those who died, her grandfather told Reuters.
The building, in Central Mumbai, houses some commercial establishments including hotels, pubs and restaurants. Locals and rescuers have alleged negligence on part of these restaurant owners.
It is being further alleged that there was only one entry and exit point at the Kamala Mills Compound, which could have trapped the victims at the building complex amid the raging fire.
However, a major fire at an illegal Farsan unit in Sakinaka which killed 12 labourers on December 19 prompted the civic body and Mumbai fire brigade to form fire safety compliant cells at all 34 fire stations across the city. These will be coordinating with the ward officials to get information and to inspect illegal or non-fire compliant commercial establishments.
However even 10 days after the incident, the civic body is yet to frame standard operating procedures to be followed by this cell. The civic body has been seizing illegally stored LPG cylinders at commercial units across the city.
President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Narendra Modi condoled the incident.
President Kovind tweeted: "Disturbing news about the fire in Mumbai. Condolences to the bereaved families and wishing the injured an early recovery. Commend the valiant efforts of fire-fighters and those in rescue ops." (sic)
PM Modi tweeted: Anguished by the fire in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. I pray that those injured recover quickly
According to the official, the cause of the fire remains to be ascertained.
Families that lost their relatives overnight are struggling to come to terms with the tragedy that struck them from nowhere as the building which is largely a commercial establishment was the workplace of many of the deceased.
Here is a list of all the eateries in the Kamala Mills compound:
Cafe Coffee Day
Cafe Delhi Heights
Old Wild West
Bar Stock Exchange
Copper Pan Express