Af­ter the fire, Mum­bai’s plan­ners should take stock

The National - News - - OPINION -

In ref­er­ence to your on­line story Huge fire at Mum­bai restau­rant kills at least 14

(De­cem­ber 29), it is hor­ren­dous that so many peo­ple lost their lives.

The ac­ci­dent un­der­scores the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing in­fra­struc­ture in Mum­bai.

Some decades ago, the mills in cen­tral Mum­bai, where the fire took hold, were closed due to over­crowd­ing. These plots should have be­come pub­lic gar­dens. In­stead, they were con­verted into shops, res­tau­rants and of­fices.

To­day, that area of the city has be­come an ur­ban jun­gle. The ex­pan­sion in busi­ness and res­i­den­tial fa­cil­i­ties has not been sup­ported by any im­prove­ment in in­fra­struc­ture.

Un­less the gov­ern­ment can up­grade the neigh­bour­hood, it is best not to build more of­fices or res­tau­rants in the mill ar­eas. We are risk­ing hu­man lives with un­planned ex­pan­sion, as the fire showed, cost­ing 14 lives.

Ra­jen­dra Aneja, Dubai

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