The tragic incident that took place on 29 December at the Kamala Mills in Mumbai that lead to the death of 14 people proved to be an eye opener for PMRDA. In the wake of the incident and to prevent any such mishap, the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) decided to ban rooftop restaurants within its limits.
The PMRDA Commissioner, Kiran Gitte was quoted recently saying that they have not given any permission for rooftop restaurants in the PMR region and will not be entertaining any requests for the same. The building permission department has been instructed to not issue permission for rooftop restaurants.
However, the Bombay high court on Monday said that the fire incident was a result of the failure of the civic administration in ensuring strict adherence to regulations and conditions imposed on such eating houses, bars and pubs. The unfortunate incident has shocked our conscience. It is high time the BMC sets its house in order, said the division bench.
Team365 tried connecting with the owners of some rooftops restaurants but no one wanted to officially comment on the issue. Some even said that neither do they have any updates about the same nor have they been served with notices from the authorities.
In an attempt to understand this, we spoke to few responsible citizens who opine on this issue.
DVR Rao, Member, Advisory Council for PCGT: I don’t think that a decision like this is necessary.
There should be frequent inspections for the firefighting equipment and fire escapes in such places. The authorities shrug their responsibilities saying that they don’t have enough manpower to do so.
Rather than closing the rooftop restaurants, instead they should enforce strict rules and formulate guidelines to ensure safety of the citizens. Not only this, many restaurants still play loud music after the prescribed time limits and no one keeps a check on this. The authorities should ensure that no restaurants should infringe such norms. Their lack of efficiency shouldn’t be an excuse to close rooftops.
Prerna Mulik, Social Media Influencer: Rooftops restaurants are popular with all who enjoy the open spaces and good ambience. An unfortunate incident cannot be a testimony for closing all the existing ones. Some are in existence for a couple of years and are still doing fine. Such restaurants are a great place to de-stress during the weekends with friends or family. I don’t support this decision.
Satish Khot, Vice Chairman, Public Concern for Governance Trust: I have been fighting for the past 5 years against the violation of Fire Laws, Rules and Regulations that are not adhered by malls and other commercial areas.
However, there has been no response from them and the situation remains as hazardous as before. I also believe that the presence of restaurants and cooking areas in basement are also prone to hazardous accidents. The safety measures should not be used in the bargain for the promotion of the builders and money making. The places that are neglecting the safety norms should be banned. Additionally, action should also be taken against the person concerned who sanctioned the blue print, the inspecting officer and the fire inspector for giving a No-Objection Certificate to these places.
Manik Patel, MBA student: Have they thought how they will employ all those people who currently work at these places? They are just doing it for the sake of it without realising the long-term impact and immediate losses these restaurants will have to bear. If fire safety is the concern, they shouldn’t have provided permits to operate in the first place and if they are working without a licence (which they claim) it is the authority that is at fault for not taking adequate action, not the owners.
Colonel (Retd) Shashikant Dalvi, Rain Water Harvesting Expert and Social Activist: I think the decision to ban is not justified. Only those who don’t abide by the rules and all safety regulations should be punished.
A blanket ban on the rooftop restaurants across PMRDA limits won’t help as people like to visit such places as well. It is more logical to have regular checks for fire fighting equipment’s, escape routes and firewalls and not issue licenses and permits to the violators.
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