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Fire dept may seal hotels, pubs that fail to follow safety norms


Thane: Municipal commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal has directed the fire department to seal all hotels and restaurants operating that have failed to comply by the prescribed fire safety norms.

As per the plans, the administration will send notices to all hotels and restaurants including pubs and hookah parlours that require a fire safety clearance asking them to submit their compliance documents as per the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Safety Act, 2006 within a week. However, if the joints fail to submit the papers within the prescribed time limit, Jaiswal has ordered his team to seal the premises as per the mandates in the MRTP Act, 1966.

The decision was taken at a late evening meeting between Jaiswal and officials triggered after the general body on Wednesday targeted the administration questioning their delay in curbing operations at the 26 entertainment zones at Kothari compound. Mayor Meenakshi Shinde, expressed her ire over the preferential treatment meted out to the commercial units despite alerting the administration a week before.

The issue was raised in the meeting by leader of opposition and NCP corporator Milind Patil who reminded the House about the action taken on Shindes complaint submitted in the House last week to which Jaiswal had promised action. The mayor had apparently presented a list of violators and the extent of their violations done at the Kothari compound premises before the general body last week.

However by the time the administration could come up with a proper explanation, Shinde, supported by all party corporators, and expressed their ire at the differential treatment meted out by the administration towards different strata of the society citing the Gaondevi demolition drive in May.

Why is the administration prompt in pulling down structures patronized by the poor while it has failed to take action against those accessed by high profile residents? The officials have razed structures at Gaondevi who were rehabilitated earlier by the TMC itself without issuing any notices but are delaying action in the Kothari compound structures despite slapping notices on them which is surprising, asked Shinde.

Meanwhile, the administration refused the claims that they havent taken any action following the complaint registered in the general body last week. We have immediately sent notices to the 26 units on Monday after the issue was brought to our notice on last Thursday. We are not just restricting our action to the parlours at that spot alone but will intensify it to all commercial establishments in the city requiring fire safety okays, said an official from the firefighting department.

It may be noted the response to securing NOC from the fore department by restaurant and hotel owners if often poor with senior fire officials estimating that barely 20% diligently renewing their licenses annually. Establishments are required to renew their NOCs annually and send a midyear compliance report to the administration.

Several godowns and warehouses at Kothari compound have been converted into hotels and pubs and the Thane Municipal Corporation wants all of them to comply with all the fire safety norms. The decision was taken at a late evening meeting between Jaiswal and officials.

Source: Times of India

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