CLEAR THE MESS
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.