The BMC commissioner has set up a committee to inquire into the fatal fire at Goregaon‘s Jay Bhavani SRA building in the wee hours of Friday on chief minister Eknath Shinde’s directions.
The committee, which will be headed by additional municipal commissioner Sudhakar Shinde and includes officials of BMC, SRA, Mhada and the Mumbai Fire Brigade, will look into the cause of the fire and fix responsibility for the incident. The committee will also check if the building’s fire-fighting systems were functional, and make recommendations to prevent such incidents.
Seven people, including four young girls-the youngest aged three-were killed and 62 injured after fire broke out in the seven-storey building around 3am on Friday. A short-circuit in the stilt parking area seemed to have caused the blaze which spread due to a pile of old clothes in a corner of the slum rehabilitation tenement. Among the injured, five are still critical.
“The first meeting of the committee will be held on Monday,” said Shinde.
“The committee needs to look into various aspects including measures to be taken in existing SRA buildings and those under-construction to avoid fire incidents,” said a BMC official. “There should be a relook at the way these SRA projects work. It is inhuman to approve buildings with this kind of design and rooms of this size.”
BMC P-South ward officer Rajesh Akre said that 45-50 persons from the fire-affected building have been accommodated in the nearby Unnat Nagar Municipal School. But Nikhil Jawale, a resident of Jai Bhavani building, complained: “On Friday night, we did not get food in time. Also, there are not enough facilities, like washrooms.”
The BMC and Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) are jointly carrying out restoration work, including cleaning of the premises and restoration of electricity and water supply, said an SRA official.
Megha Chitnis, treasurer of the adjoining Samarth Shrushti B-Wing Housing Society, the sale component of the SRA project, demanded that the state government and BMC should provide the residents the building’s structural audit and fire compliance reports.
“We need to know the safety of the building before moving back home. Tata Power officials are checking the electricity connections in each flat and if all is well will restore power soon. But water and gas connections too have to be restored. Pipelines, air-conditioning units, geysers in several flats were damaged,” said Chitnis, who has temporarily moved in with her in-laws at Bandra.