The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Saturday demolished illegal structures at 314 restaurants in the city, sealed seven of them and identified more than 624 restaurants that have unauthorised extensions. It carried out the demolition drive a day after 14 people died in a massive fire at eateries in Kamala Mills in Lower Parel.
“The BMC has sealed seven hotels and seized around 417 LPG cylinders during the action,” it said, according to NDTV. It razed “illegal roofs” at two restaurants – Skyview Cafe and Social – in Kamala Mills and illegal extensions at restaurants Pranay, Fumes and Sheesha Sky Lounge at Raghuvanshi Mills nearby. Pravas, an eatery that looked like a coach of a train, was also demolishes, as was a large portion of Zaffran Hotel in South Mumbai.
The municipal body continued its campaign against illegal constructions on Sunday. At least a thousand civic staff were involved in the demolition drive on Saturday. The BMC set up three teams in each of Mumbai’s 24 wards.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had visited the site of the fire on Friday and promised that all illegal structures will be demolished “on a war footing”. Five civic officials were suspended.
“The illegal structures had been there for some time but we were unable to act upon them due to the stay orders that they obtain from courts,” Additional Municipal Commissioner (City) Aabasaheb Jarhad told The Hindu. “But today, the commissioner empowered us to go all out and act against the restaurants. We removed illegal sheds, inspected premises and even cleared hurdles blocking the exit corridors of restaurants.”
While reports quoted authorities as saying that the blaze at Kamala Mills began at 1Above, the restaurant claimed the adjoining Mojo’s Bistro was the “preliminary source of the fire”. “There was no escape from Mojo’s Bistro,” 1Above said. “Therefore, we believe that all their guests were told go through the premises of 1Above as we had an emergency exit.”