Fire department issues notices to 40 commercial buildings and 92 restaurants.
Forty of the buildings and 92 restaurants and hotels were served notices under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act. The violation of rules included a lack of firefighting systems and even the presence of defective and non-functional systems
: A surprise check conducted on December 3 by the Mumbai fire brigade on commercial establishments, including restaurants and hotels, has revealed that many were not complying with the requisite fire safety norms. Eighty-eight commercial buildings and 440 restaurants and hotels were inspected by the fire brigade in the drive.
Forty of the buildings and 92 restaurants and hotels were served notices under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act. “The violation of rules included a lack of firefighting systems and even the presence of defective and non-functional systems,” said an official from the fire brigade, adding that five malls too, out of the 10 examined, were served notices for non-compliance.
The fire department conducts inspections, issues notices for non-compliance and stipulates a time period within which occupiers or owners must comply with the rules. If they fail to do so, they are prosecuted in court.
However, many feel that the sporadic checks serve little purpose in the larger scheme of things. “Drives are only conducted when there is a fire,” Prakash Devdas, fire safety expert and president of the Mumbai Fire Brigade Officers Union, told HT. “They need to be done consistently.” Sudhakar Shetty, secretary, AHAR, an umbrella body for 7,500 hotels and restaurants in Mumbai, agreed.
Devdas said a petition had been filed in the Bombay high court to demand implementation of the Mumbai fire brigade’s new laws. “According to the new law, an officer has to be designated for every area who will be the competent authority to decide and issue timely notices and even prosecute violators,” he said. “This rule isn’t followed and whenever there is a fire, action is initiated against fire officers.”
Shetty pointed out another lacuna in the functioning of the fire brigade. “In our regular meetings, we tell restaurants to comply with all fire safety norms,” he said. “However, restaurants that are 30 to 40 years old have NOCs that were given according to the conditions and requirements that were applied during that particular time. Now, when such old restaurants are asked to follow new codified laws, it is not possible. But the fire brigade still issues an inspection report (IR) on non-compliance.”
On November 19, a large, illuminated hoarding above the ground-plus-two building housing Revival Restaurant, Banquet and Bar near Girgaon Chowpatty caught fire. No injuries were reported.