A day after the deadly fire in a Mumbai pub that killed 14 people, civic officials in Mumbai demolished illegal structures in at least 100 restaurants and pubs.
As many as 1,000 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials initiated a mega demolition drive.
“The unauthorised hotels and restaurants, not only in central Mumbai, but also those located in the distant suburbs, such as Malad and Mulund, are facing action,” BMC spokesperson Ram Dotonde said.
“There are 24 wards in Mumbai and each has three teams personally inspecting all the restaurants, pubs, food joints and eateries. Each team has 10 members, including officials from the health and administration departments and inspectors,” he said.
The civic administration has asked its entire staff to remain on duty. Leave and weekly offs of the staff of several departments, including the anti-encroachment department, have been cancelled and they have been given a detailed list of restaurants and pubs, where violations were found during the preliminary inspection, the official added.
“The number of eateries and restaurants, where the unauthorised structures have been removed so far, must be more than 100. The action will continue till we remove all such structures,” he added.
The other areas where the drive was carried out included Shivaji Park, Mulund, Dahisar, Malad, the Parsi Gymkhana near Marine Lines, Grant Road, Andheri and Ghatkopar.
The civic body has also directed its officials to form teams to ensure that restaurants and bars follow the safety norms, ahead of New Year parties. The teams will inspect all the restaurants in their respective wards and ensure that they are fire-compliant, the message said.
The premises should have fire-escape routes, staircases and open spaces, free from encroachment.
After the blaze, the BMC had on Thursday suspended five officials for “dereliction of duty”.
A fire brigade official said they were trying to ascertain what exactly had triggered the inferno.
“We are probing if the flames created during a fire-stunt by a bartender at the pub came in contact with plastic sheets that covered the bamboo structure and triggered the blaze. We are also trying to find out whether the burning coal used for hookah at the adjacent restaurant led to the tragedy,” he said.
“We are also taking into consideration all other possibilities, including that of a short-circuit,” he added.
Meanwhile, a senior police official said that lookout notices were issued against Hitesh Sanghvi and Jigar Sanghvi, the co-owners of ‘1 Above’, which caught fire. The pub was run by ‘C Grade Hospitality’.
Yesterday, the police had booked the Sanghvi brothers, another co-owner Abhijeet Manka and others in connection with the case.
(With inputs from agencies)