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After Kamala Mills fire, BMC makes obtaining restaurant licences tough in Mumbai

The civic body will categorise commercial buildings on the basis of footfall and risk level

mumbai Updated: Jan 20, 2018 12:22 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
Sanjana Bhalerao
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,BMC,Kamala Mills fire
The civic body will categorise commercial buildings on the basis of footfall and risk level.(HT File Photo)

With the Kamala Mills fire throwing light on the gross irregularities and violations, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) now plans to revamp the process to issue licences to restaurants, hotels and other areas that witness high footfall.

The civic body will categorise commercial buildings on the basis of footfall and risk level. “Areas with higher footfall such as theatres, markets and malls will have a rigorous licensing and screening process, compared to areas that get fewer people,” said civic chief Ajoy Mehta.

Mehta, in a probe report submitted to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday, highlighted the need to re-engineer licensing process, among others. “We are devising a risk-based approval and auditing methodology. For example, theatres easily get more than a hundred people at any given point, making the risk higher. For such areas, the licensing process will be more rigorous, with higher emphasis on compliance of fire safety norms,” Mehta said.

The current move will mean increase in number of stages and days for hotels to obtain work licence. Earlier, under the ease of doing business, the BMC had moved the entire procedure online, expedited and streamlined the entire procedure. With implementation of the online system, it was mandatory for departments to inform the applicant (hotels) within 15 days whether he/she needs to submit additional documents. The civic body had also brought down 200 permissions to 70 and decided to provide a provisional NOC to encourage new businesses. However, following the incident and blatant disregard for procedure, hoteliers will not be able to procure the next level of NOC, until the first one is complied with.

Mehta said, “The BMC is going to recommend changes to laws that need to be strengthened or have loopholes in interpretation.”

The BMC also plans to make separate rules for interior designers and architects in its fire safety rules. Under the re-engineering process, the civic body is also planning to use information technology (IT) to enable the whole process. For example, the Unique Identity Number (UID) will be linked with the licences, permissions and fire compliance reports.

On the allegations of safeguarding his officers in the Kamala Mills tragedy, Mehta said, “Did we save anyone in road scam or in desilting scam? We don’t believe in that.”

Meanwhile, the NM Joshi Marg police registered a case against 1Above owners – Sanghvi brothers and Abhijit Mankar – for non-payment of Rs10 lakh towards provident fund.

First Published: Jan 20, 2018 12:21 IST