Rooftop restaurants in Mumbai: Activists appalled policy got nod 3 weeks after Kamala Mills fire
Of the two restaurants that caught fire, one was on the terrace; BMC decision is a blunder, say criticsmumbai Updated: Jan 19, 2018 13:29 IST
While the hospitality sector is thrilled that the rooftop policy, which allows restaurants to operate on terraces, has been approved finally, activists are appalled and point out that it is less than one month since the Kamala Mills fire, which claimed 14 lives.
One of the two restaurants that caught fire at Kamala Mills was located on the terrace.
Activists called the decision, taken by the general body of elected representatives (corporators) in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Thursday, a blunder. “It is surprising how the policy gets a green signal even after a horrific incident such as the Kamala Mills fire,” said Ashraf Khan, president, Youth Voice. “Majority of the buildings in the city have narrow entrances to terraces, and any unfortunate incident will have disastrous consequences again,” he warned.
Restaurant owners argue that Mumbai needs such rooftop restaurants. “There are rooftop restaurants across the world and Mumbai is a world-class city, so it needs them,” said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, senior vice-president, Hotels and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI).
Suneet Chadha, owner of Kosmic Group, which runs four restaurants in the city, shares the same sentiment. “The ambience and the view of the city skyline will make rooftop restaurants a fine-dining place. It will work wonders for tourism,” he said.
Chadha, however, said it’s important that safety is not compromised at any cost. “The safety rules are strict, and restaurant owners do take precautions as it concerns our property and our people,” he claimed.
As per the policy, which had been notified by municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta in November 2017, all existing malls and hotels can have restaurants on the terrace or rooftop. However, the permission will be given subject to certain conditions. There can be no residential building within 10 metres. The kitchens of terrace restaurants should use appliances such as microwave ovens or induction stoves, not LPG stoves or open flame. And the restaurants should not disturb the neighbourhood.
The policy also restricts using pocket terraces that are designated as refuge areas. Hoteliers have to get compulsory no-objection certificates from the city’s chief fire officer.