Most of the buildings in south Mumbai, that were constructed before 1961, are not entirely governed by the development control rules (DCR) of 1991, which state that the basement cannot be used for anything other than for parking and storage.
The 1991 rules are also stringent about fire safety.
According to senior civic officials, some sections of these rules are not applicable in retrospect and unless there is an accident in these buildings these new laws cannot be imposed.
“Now, after the fire in Bombay House, the fire department can ask it to comply with the necessary fire safety measures and also enforce the 1991 DCR rules,” a senior civic official said.
The old buildings, which came up before the DC rules came into existence in 1991, had no strict fire safety rules and there were several alterations carried out in their original plans making them vulnerable to fire accidents, said a fire officer on the condition of anonymity.
There are several buildings, most of them heritage, that have carried out alterations in the structures that are not permitted under the current rules. But, the civic body cannot do much as the earlier DCR in 1967 allowed such alterations.
There are many buildings in south Mumbai that have altered basements.
“Will the civic body act only after an accident?” Mayor Shraddha Jadhav said.