into the fire that broke out at Bombay House on Wednesday killing three people reveal that the auditorium, cafeteria and offices did not have the mandatory no-objection certificate (NOC) from the fire brigade.
Civic officials also said that the cafeteria had been functioning without the mandatory licence from the civic health department.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has, however, made it clear that its building proposal department had given other permissions for the structures in the basement of the heritage building. These rooms were constructed in the basement in 1988 and permissions obtained in 1990.
However, BMC officials said that the basement plan approved at the time showed a sports club in the space and was to be kept open. But, this was later changed to make way for offices, where the fire broke out on Wednesday. The earlier plan also doesn’t show a canteen, which exists today, BMC officials said.
Fire brigade officials looking into the incident said there were 50 windows in the basement, of which 11 were packed with air conditioners, 20 boarded up with plywood two fitted with exhaust fans and the rest packed with netting. The reason for the death of the three men when the fire broke out was suffocation.
When asked about Bombay House not having the requisite NOCs, a spokesperson from the Tata Group said, “Our priority right now is to extend relief to the families of the victims.”
Bombay House was constructed in 1924 and is a Grade II heritage structure.
Fire brigade officials, who are inspecting the building, said it would take at least two more days for them to submit the report and, depending on their findings, senior officials would decide whether a notice under the fire safety and protection rules should be sent to the owners of the building.
BMC's chief fire officer Uday Tatkare said they were still preparing the inquiry report after which they would decide what action to take to curb such instances in future.
Mayor Shraddha Jadhav blamed ward officials. “They should conduct regular inspection of these buildings and send notices regarding irregularities to ensure safety of employees,” she said.