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Pub fire: BMC cracks down on illegal structures at restaurants

Spot the fire exit Mojo’s Bistro Kamala Mills before Thursday night’s fire

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which initiated the mega demolition drive two days back, has made a decision to adopt a strict stand and not heed to requests by pubs and hotel owners to delay the action in view of New Year celebrations. Meanwhile, a senior Superintendent of Police has said that notice has been issued against "An Above" Pub co-owners Hitesh Sanghvi and Jigar Sanghvi.

An official of the Mumbai Fire Brigade said that, so far, they have not been able to ascertain the cause of the fire.

An FIR has been registered against the restaurant "1 Above" where the fire initiated in Mumbai's Lower Parel locality.

"The fire incident was very tragic, and there is definitely a need to take action to make city restaurants and pubs a safe place for patrons", Datwani said.

Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam on Saturday however termed the ongoing demolitions as "a mere eyewash" in view of the public anger and demanded the suspension of the BMC commissioner for the lapses over which he is presiding. Doctors said they died of asphyxiation, apparently as they tried to flee the burning building. "We are asking managers or owners of such properties to remove it on their own or else we will bring it down", BMC spokesperson Ram Dotonde said.

The civic body had on Friday suspended five officers for dereliction of duty in connection with the massive blaze in the Kamala Mills compound.

The aim of the march, organisers said, is to urge citizens to boycott pub parties and shun fire crackers.

According to reports, the blaze was reported at about 12.30 am from the Mojo's Bistro restaurant, which quickly spread to the neighbouring restaurant.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that BMC Commissioner has been asked to investigate the fire case.

There have been allegations that civic authorities turned a blind eye to the construction of irregular structures and did not pay attention to those violating fire safety norms in the compound. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief.

Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadevar had said that orders have been given in this regard and strict action will be taken against the guilty officials.