Illegal cafe in Mumbai a fire hazard, say residents after third blaze
Residents had complained that ‘VJ Cafe’, located in a residential building near Mithibai college, is a nuisance and a fire hazard to everyonemumbai Updated: Apr 22, 2018 00:46 IST
The city’s civic authority has come under fire once again for failing to act against fire safety and health violations at an eatery. A fire incident at one of Juhu’s popular cafes on Wednesday night, third one in the past three years, has left residents in fear.
Residents had complained that ‘VJ Cafe’, located in a residential building near Mithibai college, is a nuisance and a fire hazard to everyone. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has failed to take strict action despite multiple minor fire incidents and written complaints from residents.
“Its premises are unclean and unhygienic and there are gas cylinders lying outside the kitchen. A few days ago, flames came up to our bedroom on the first floor,” said Neelam Shelat, who lives right above the cafe.
BMC officials confirmed that the eatery has been running without a license from the health department. According to an official of the department, who spoke on terms of anonymity, the cafe’s application for license was cancelled owing to violations.
“We had sent an inspection report and a notice to shut down the cafe. We had even confiscated their goods and gas cylinders three times since last month. However, it has reopened once again,” said the official, adding that BMC has taken the owner to court.
Vaibhav Jain, owner of the VJ franchise with 15 outlets in Mumbai, distanced himself from the issue, saying that he shut down the Juhu establishment owing to problems with licenses.
Meanwhile, Rohan Rambhiya, who had been running the cafe in the name of the franchise, said, “I had changed the cafe’s name to Romeo’s seven months ago. However, it has been closed since March 31. A fire compliance certificate was not needed because we only sold ready-made food and milkshakes.”
A fire official in the know of the matter said that the fire on Wednesday night is likely to be caused by a short circuit in the exhaust fan.
He further admitted, “The eatery had not been checked by the fire brigade’s new inspection cell due to shortage of staff. We are checking if the structure had been issued a fire compliance certificate before.”
BMC demolished Worli cafe
A 10-year-old unauthorised eatery at Worli Sea Face has been demolished by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The civic body said that the ground plus one ‘Cafe Sea Face’ had opened up illegally in 2007.
The eatery had been running without any permissions from BMC. Civic officials said that after Bombay high court lifted a stay order on the demolition of the structure, BMC went ahead and took action.
“The seafront eatery had a built-up area of 1,500 sq ft on the first floor. The action was taken by 40 civic officials with police officials for protection,” said assistant municipal commissioner Devendrakuamar Jain.