Fire at Kothari Mansion: Mumbai civic body asks residents to vacate adjoining buildings
The BMC will conduct a structure audit to the buildingsmumbai Updated: Jun 10, 2018 23:21 IST
Fearing structural damage to the buildings adjoining Kothari Mansion on Mint Road, where a major fire broke out on Saturday early morning, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has directed neighbouring residents to vacate in order to conduct a structure audit from a registered structural engineer.
The civic body has also written to Mumbai Repair and Reconstruction Board of Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) to initiate appropriate action towards the British-era Kothari Mansion.
Mhada officials confirmed that the iconic heritage structure opposite the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station (CSMT) is likely to be demolished following the fire.
Apart from two fire officials who received minor injuries while tending to the blaze, no other casualties were reported in the fire since the building was vacated two years ago for repairs. The residents of Malhotra House and Patel Mansion have been directed by the BMC to vacate the buildings till the structural audit is completed.
Suspecting foul play in the fire, the BMC has filed a police complaint against two tenants of the building, stating that Nagraj Jain and Sayali Sawant had obtained a no objection certificate (NOC) from Mhada to repair the building after it was declared dangerous, but failed to do so due to some dispute among other tenants over consent to proceed with repairs.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner Kiran Dighavkar said, “The NOC-holders did not initiate repairs for more than a year due to some dispute. The complaint has been registered for endangering the lives of people in adjoining buildings and the pedestrians.” The building was home to the iconic Light of Asia restaurant and the adjoining road is used by pedestrians on a daily basis.
A senior MHADA official said, “The building needs to be demolished since there is no point in keeping a dangerous structure standing. We will at least have to remove the walls inside the building due to the impact of the fire. We have also written to the heritage committee for further guidance on demolition. However, the decision on the demolition is yet to be taken.”