Vashi Plaza flouts fire norms: NMMC CIVIC BODY MOVES HC AFTER TRADERS GET INTERIM RELIEF
A five-storey building on plot number 198 at sector 20 in Nerul was demolished by Cidco on Thursday. The building was constructed by Vishwas Jairam Mhatre. Officials said Mhatre had got a stay from the court a few months ago, when the structure was one storey. He completed the construction and sold the flats. Four families were living in the building.
The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) fire department declared the 35-year-old Vashi Plaza Commercial Premises Cooperative Society Ltd, one of the city’s busiest commercial buildings, dangerous.
An inspection by the fire department revealed hanging electric cables and an absence of fire extinguishers.
The fire department had inspected the premises, located at sector 17, under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act (MFPLSMA), 2006 and Rules, 2009 and issued instructions to the managing committee on June 13 to correct the anomalies it found within a seven-day period. According to Vashi ward officer Mahendra Singh Thoke, “Following a reinspection on June 20, we found that the instructions had not been complied with.”
“Since the norms specified in the occupancy certificate and MFPLSMA’s preventive measures have not been adhered to, the fire department has stated that the building is unsafe,” he added.
Shrikant Hindalkar, president of the society, said, “The builder maintained the building till we took over two years ago. It has been neglected for years.”
As not much repair and maintenance work has been done on the building, issues such as leakages are prevalent. “We have begun repairs and informed the NMMC that we need a month to carry out the work. We have awarded the contract for fire safety measures and the repair of cables,” he said.
Hindalkar said, “This is the first time we have received such a notice as the new commissioner has ordered action. Nobody can vacate immediately as their businesses will be disrupted. We need an extension.”
“The society will discuss the repairs that the building requires in our general body meeting. We will consider demolishing and redeveloping it, if the structural auditor says to do so. We will seek the municipal commissioner’s permission if that is the case,” he added.
Fourteen of the 34 traders of spice market of APMC whose galas were sealed by the municipal corporation last week have got relief from the court which has ordered that the seals be opened.
The NMMC has approached the high court.
Deputy municipal commissioner Subhash Ingle said, “We had issued notices to 34 galas. The owners there have illegally constructed lofts. We have moved the high court.”
The traders had approached CBD Belapur court of civil judge (JD) Vashi, stating that NMMC had sealed their stalls despite status quo by the court. They had also pleaded that perishable stock kept in the galas will be destroyed if the seal was not opened.
Advocate Ramesh Tripathi, who represented the traders, said: “The court granted interim relief on June 14 to the traders yet NMMC went ahead sealing the galas despite our protest. They said they had not received any official intimation.”
Tripathi said, “The traders said the sealing will affect the livelihood of the employees and mathadis. There are also perishable items stocked in the galas which will be spoiled if not used or sold.”
The NMMC said many traders at the APMC spice market have resorted to large-scale illegal constructions in their galas without taking permission. The traders dispute it claiming that they have the requisite permission from the APMC.