Kamala Mills compound in Mumbai flouting pollution norms, operating sans MPCB nod: RTI | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Kamala Mills compound in Mumbai flouting pollution norms, operating sans MPCB nod: RTI

Once an IT park is set-up, the building requires approval from the pollution control board

mumbai Updated: Feb 16, 2018 01:16 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
The Kamal Mills fire killed 14 people in December last year. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT )

In what could spell more trouble to the three owners of Kamala Mills compound, the complex, classified as an IT park, has violated pollution norms as it did not have clearance from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), according to a Right to Information (RTI) query.

The lawyers of the two owners, who are behind bars in connection with the Kamala Mills fire, were unavailable for comment.

Once an IT park is set-up, the building requires approval from the pollution control board under the provisions of Water (Prevention and control of pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention and control of pollution) Act, 1981.

However, MPCB officials refused to comment on the matter, calling it ‘technical’. The spokesperson, though, confirmed that any industry which is set-up requires permission from the board and has to submit reports periodically.

The website of the board states that approval is given after reports on effluent treatment, fuel gases, solid waste and hazardous waste are submitted to the authorities.

“Earlier, restaurants required permissions from the BMC after inspection of blowers and chimneys. Now, the MPCB report is required for hotels, but not individual restaurants,” said Vishwapal Shetty, honorary general secretary of Indian Hotel & Restaurant Association (AHAR).

Godfrey Pimenta, trustee of Watchdog Foundation, who filed the RTI said, that violation of air and water pollution Act is a criminal offence and the offender can be prosecuted for five years.

“When the violation of MRTP Act is being considered, why is the pollution aspect not being looked into? There was no check on effluent at the place where the fire took place,” said Pimenta.

The fire that took place at Kamala Mills on December 29 last year claimed 14 lives and injured 55 others. It started from Mojo’s Bistro and then spread to its adjoining 1Above resto-bar.

69 godowns demolished

To prevent fire incidents, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)has in the past two days demolished 69 godowns for encroachment in Mankhurd-Mandale. It also filed police complaints against six gala (godown) owners for storing hazardous and inflammable material. The BMC also cut electricity and water supplies of 35 godowns.

Chief fire officer PS Rahangdale said , “Some accidents cannot be avoided because of small defects. However, manufacturing units are also required to keep equipment such as water hoses, sprinklers and extinguishers. Illegal extensions cause hindrances in fire-fighting. Our new fire compliance cells will hopefully help reduce the number of incidences.”

On behalf of the Mumbai suburban collector, the M/East ward office has been on a demolition drive against encroachers.

A civic official, requesting anonymity, said that many godowns had encroached on the collector’s land. “We found the entire city’s refuse. There have been frequent fires in this area, although no one has been hurt. The demolition drive will continue for two more days.”

A major fire had broken out in a 10,000 sq ft scrap yard in the area on Sunday. In the last 20 days, the city has seen at least five fire incidents in industrial houses and godowns.

First Published: Feb 16, 2018 01:16 IST