South Bombay residents want CM to act against illegal structure | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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South Bombay residents want CM to act against illegal structure

Worried after the Kamala Mills fire tragedy, occupants are running from pillar to post to get the encroachment on their refuge area removed

mumbai Updated: Mar 19, 2018 00:39 IST
Sagar Pillai
Occupants of building have complained that their fire exit passage has been blocked by a massive air conditioning unit of the upcoming restaurant.
Occupants of building have complained that their fire exit passage has been blocked by a massive air conditioning unit of the upcoming restaurant.(HT Photo)

Disappointed by the civic authority’s apathy towards their complaint against an unauthorised construction for an upcoming eatery by a noted businessman, the occupants of a South Mumbai building have written to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis requesting for immediate help.

The upcoming restaurant has become a cause of worry for the occupants of building no. 43, situated just behind the famous blue synagogue at Kalaghoda, as their fire exit passage has been blocked by a massive air conditioning unit of the upcoming restaurant. Worried after the Kamala Mills fire tragedy, occupants are running from pillar to post to get the encroachment on their refuge area removed.

The occupants of the building alleged that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has turned a blind eye to their complaints though they have been following up with the civic authority since last year.

Two well-known urban planners, Pankaj Joshi of the Urban Design and Research Institute and architect Rahul Mehrotra have their offices in this building and have been raising this issue since January last year when the massive unit was being built on the refuge area.

Owner Manish Munot has leased out the property to the businessman to run the eatery. “I will follow the law. If the authorities want me to remove the structure, I will remove it,” Munot said. The businessman has been served with a notice under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act in January for carrying out unauthorised construction to stack air conditioning units. Nearly two months after serving the notice, BMC is yet to initiate action against the structure.

Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner of ward A (Kalaghoda, Fort), said, “There is no provision in the Building Construction norms which allows such construction on an open space between two buildings. We have issued a notice and had asked them to remove the structure within 30 days. We have decided to remove the structure next week.”

The AC unit has come up on a courtyard space which is the only refuge area near the fire exit staircases. Presently, there is no exit for the occupants in case of a major fire incident. The earlier fire exit for the occupants had a spiral staircase that led them to the adjoining road directly.

Now, with the tightly packed commercial structures in the surrounding, this blocked exit is creating a safety hazard. Over half the space is blocked and the only exit now leads to a narrow hallway, which is the kitchen area of a nearby restaurant.