The Hitavada - - THEOPINIONPAGE -

IT was as if the Bri­han­Mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (BMC) was wait­ing for some big tragedy to oc­cur be­fore launch­ing a cam­paign to pull down il­le­gal struc­tures that have come up across the fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal of the coun­try. Be­cause, the BMC ac­tion came only af­ter the pub fire tragedy that killed 14 peo­ple re­cently. Within a cou­ple of days of the fire mishap, the BMC has razed over 900 il­le­gal struc­tures and seized over a thou­sand gas cylin­ders used in the kitchens of the eater­ies func­tion­ing without per­mis­sion and throw­ing all the safety mea­sures to the wind.

Though the be­lated ac­tion of the BMC against il­le­gal struc­tures is wel­come, the ques­tion that comes to every­body’s mind is how and why the civic author­i­ties al­lowed thou­sands of il­le­gal struc­tures to come up? The an­swer is any­body’s guess. The restau­rant own­ers, most of whom have strong links with pow­er­ful politi­cians, ‘man­age’ to go away with all the il­le­gal­i­ties. And many oth­ers use money power to get things done. No­body is ac­tu­ally both­ered about the haz­ards of such il­le­gal­i­ties un­til some tragedy takes place killing in­no­cent per­sons and sub­se­quent pub­lic out­rage over the vi­o­la­tion of norms by the own­ers of the build­ings.

Un­for­tu­nately, this mal­prac­tice is not re­stricted to Mumbai alone. The sad story of cor­rup­tion, ne­glect and ca­su­al­ness among the civic author­i­ties is ev­i­dent ev­ery­where across the coun­try. The fact that close to a thou­sand il­le­gal struc­tures were pulled down in Mumbai in a cou­ple of days alone should be enough to un­der­stand the grav­ity of the prob­lem. And this is just an ini­tial fig­ure. The BMC is con­duct­ing a sur­vey and many more struc­tures are likely to be razed in days to come.

The Mumbai pub fire is a wake-up call not only for the BMC but also for all the civic author­i­ties in other parts of the coun­try, who have al­lowed the mess to be cre­ated for their petty gains, show­ing ut­ter dis­re­gard to the safety of the peo­ple. The cam­paign against il­le­gal struc­tures there­fore should not be re­stricted to Mumbai alone. It should be ex­tended across the length and breadth of the coun­try so that the mess is cleared once and for all. The politi­cians should also stop in­ter­fer­ing in the work­ing of the author­i­ties and give them a free hand to take ac­tion against the vi­o­la­tors of laws.

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