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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Mantralaya fire: a year on, inspection plans stuck in limbo

Reetika Subramanian, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, May 11, 2013
First Published: 16:11 IST(11/5/2013) | Last Updated: 16:12 IST(11/5/2013)

Almost a year after the civic heritage committee was supposed to ensure that heritage structures in the city undergo a fire safety audit, the plan is yet to get anywhere. The plan was announced in June last year, in the wake of the massive fire that engulfed Mantralaya.

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However, over the last 11 months, fire brigade officials said that only one inspection has been conducted at Old Customs House, out of  75 heritage structures with high footfall or housing important documents in the city.

While civic officials said the Mumbai fire brigade is yet to file any report of inspections despite requests, fire officials said they had not received directions from the civic heritage panel.

“Last year, we had appointed a sub-committee to look at the fire preparedness of heritage structures to function in conjunction with the Mumbai fire brigade. However, we haven’t got reports on audits that we had requested to be conducted from the fire brigade,” said V Ranganathan, chairman of  Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC).

Senior civic officials pointed out the lack of coordination in the overall plan to conduct inspections. “There has not been major work undertaken as part of this heritage inspection project. We had conducted an inspection at Old Customs House and have submitted a report,” said a senior fire brigade official. “The main job of the fire brigade is to attend to fires. The heritage committee could have approached listed licensing contractors for inspections,” he added.


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