BMC ignored panel’s report on fire hazards in Kalbadevi

  • Laxman Singh, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: May 12, 2015 22:55 IST

In the wake of the fire that ravaged the Gokul Nivas building on Saturday night, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has formed a committee to investigate the incident and suggest fire safety measures for old buildings in crowded parts of Mumbai.

Meanwhile, a report submitted by a panel formed under former additional municipal commissioner Ajit Kumar Jain 14 years ago, following a similar incident in Kalbadevi, has been gathering dust in the civic body’s office.

The Jain committee had made 12 recommendations for the prevention of accidents in the C ward, which includes areas such as Kalbadevi and Bhuleshwar. The area is littered with jewellery-making units, where goldsmiths work. The recommendations were ignored by the BMC and there has been no check on jewellery-making units in the area, which have grown in number over the years.

The Jain committee had advised against the storage and use of LPG cylinders in the small tenements used as goldsmith workshops. It had also pointed out that the use of acid for jewellery-making processes in these small units was hazardous. It had advised against use of machinery in the area, said work in jewellery-making units should be limited to the 9am-9pm slot, and that not more than eight workers should be allowed in a single unit.

DM Shah, a member of the Bhuleshwar Residents Association, said, “We have been demanding that the jewellery-making units be shifted out of the area. Almost every building in Bhuleshwar and Kalbadevi has illegal jewellery-making units. ”

Dr Sangeeta Hasnale, assistant municipal commissioner, C ward, said, “We have prepared a list of legal jewellery-making units and are regularly keeping a watch on them. We also have the health data of all workers employed in these units. If we find any units conducting operations against the recommendations, we will take action against them.”

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