Mumbai fire: Blame game begins

  • Dharmendra Jore, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • |
  • Updated: Jun 24, 2012 01:09 IST
  • Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan supervises situation at the Mantralaya building after it caught a massive fire in Mumbai. HT/Vijayanand Gupta

  • Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan supervises efforts to quell the fire and rescue the trapped at Mantralaya. HT/Vijayanand Gupta

  • The Tricolour is pictured atop the Mantralaya building in Mumbai. HT/Vijayanand Gupta

  • Fire looms out of the Mantralaya building in Mumbai. HT/Vijayanand Gupta

  • Policemen patrol the area around the Mumbai Mantralaya building. HT/Vijayanand Gupta

  • Fire in the Mantralaya building in Mumbai engulfed the 4th, 5th & 6th floors. HT/Vijayanand Gupta

  • A major fire broke out at the Maharashtra state secretariat complex that houses offices of the chief minister, key ministers and top officials. HT/Vijayanand Gupta

  • Fire broke out in the 4th, 5th and 6th floors of Mantralaya building in Mumbai. HT/Vijayanand Gupta

  • A TV grab of people being rescued from fire at Mantralaya building in Mumbai.

  • Over 16 fire tenders were deployed to douse the fire. Twitter/@subjudiced

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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