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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Mumbai fire: Blame game begins

Dharmendra Jore, Hindustan Times   Mumbai, June 24, 2012
First Published: 00:03 IST(24/6/2012) | Last Updated: 01:09 IST(24/6/2012)

Two days after a fire destroyed four floors of the Mantralaya building, the blame game began on Saturday.

Refusing to take sole responsibility for the incident, public works minister (PWD) Chhagan Bhujbal, on Saturday, pointed a finger at the General Administration Department (GAD) headed by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan saying it had showed scant regard for the rulebook.

The minister was reacting to reports that the PWD had not complied with norms, which led to a short circuit becoming a deadly inferno that killed five people and destroyed thousands of official documents. Some civil society members have even registered a police complaint against the PWD for not following recommendations made by the fire safety audit report.

Bhujbal said his department was responsible for maintaining the seven-storey building and had complied with 31 of the 32 recommendations made in the fire safety audit report. He blamed GAD for allowing irregular constructions and renovation of ministerial cabins and other offices.

"Nothing can happen without the GAD’s permission. My department does what they [GAD] want. We do not allot space or approve construction and renovation [of offices]," Bhujbal said.

Chavan said it was premature to fix blame on any department. "Let the experts do the job of finding out the reason for the blaze."

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