The state government has blamed the civic body’s failure to monitor illegal godowns in Dharavi for the ‘colour poisoning’ on Holi this year. The incident left one person dead and 200 hospitalised.
“It is the BMC that gives permissions for godowns, and they have failed to monitor the illegal ones,” said minister of state for home, Satej Patil in the legislative council on Tuesday. “The failure of the BMC to detect a chemical colour lying around for a long time has led to the incident,” he said. The minister was replying to a question raised by BJP legislator Sanjay Kelkar over the March 8 incident.
On the eve of Holi, children from Dharavi area found the colour in an abandoned godown. The toxic colour was soon passed around and reached revelers in Kurla, Byculla and Mahim. The colour caused serious reaction and led to burn injuries, following which hundreds had to be hospitalised. “We are still waiting to hear how this colour was found and how it was circulated. There needs to be some action from the government on such people,” Kelkar said.
Following the incident, medical education secretary IS Chahal was asked to lead a committee formed to investigate the incident. The government is framing regulations on the storage, type and formulation of such colours to be manufactured and sold.
Opposition leader Vinod Tawde hinted at a larger racket. “This is not a one-off incident; it takes place from time to time. Even the local police are involved,” Tawde alleged.
In response, Patil said that no such complaints had been made formally to the police.
“We do conduct drives. If we get complaints, we will act. But it cannot be our responsibility alone, it needs to be a collective one,” Patil said.
He added that the committee formed has met twice and will be meeting again on Tuesday before the final report comes out.