After the Kamala Mills fire claimed 14 people in December 2017, the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) served notices to 1,557 commercial establishments for violating fire safety norms and granted them up to 120 days to comply. However, even four months later, a mere 23.18 per cent of the total establishments have complied with the safety norms.
Data from MFB, shows that in January and February 3,373 commercial establishments in the city were inspected for compliance with fire safety norms, out of which 1,557 were found violating them. MFB served them the notices under Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act 2006. But, only 361 of them toed the line; of them, 348 are restaurants.
Out of 1,557 establishments, 1,473 were hotels and restaurants, 17 were theatres, nine were malls, 11 were basements, three were explosive godowns and 68 were other commercial establishments. Some of the errant restaurants, according to MFB officials, are 24 Lounge & Bistro in Khar, Flavours in Bandra, Jain Sabkuchh Food Plaza in Goregaon, the canteen at NESCO exhibition centre in Goregaon, Faaso’s and Subway outlets in Parel. Chief fire officer PS Rahangdale said, “We are taking further action against the defaulters and have served some of them prosecution notices.”
The senior MFB officials observed that commercial establishments with minor violations or faults, such as non-operational fire-fighting installations, storing of material in the fire-safety passage, dodgy extensions, etc. respond quickly to the notices. But restaurants with major violations find it difficult to comply with norms. While some do not submit their fire safety compliance report, others don’t ask for permission for extensions, which put them on the defaulters list.