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Flouting of norms continues

Saturday, June 03, 2017
By Raju Vernekar

The Golden Chariot hotel and its sister concern Balaji Grand do not seem in the mood to take permissions of the concerned authorities before carrying out any activities in their premises

While the issue of the suspension of trade license of the Golden Chariot Hotel at Goregon, following a massive fire in December last year is still to be resolved, the Golden Chariot’s sister concern involved in similar irregularities has been continuing despite revocation of its license too.

A huge fire broke out at the Golden Chariot located at the Hub Mall, Goregon East, in December last and the management was accused of carrying out structural changes, in violation of the safety norms. The hotel’s Eating House trade License No. 761434569 was cancelled by the BMC. But, subsequently the Golden Chariot challenged the revocation of license.

After hearing the arguments advanced in the notice of motion, the Principal Judge of the City Civil Court, vide his order dated April 13, 2017, stayed the suspension of the license till June 30, 2017. As such the Golden Chariot has continued with its routine business. Now, the matter is slated to come up for hearing on June 30, 2017.

It maybe recalled, that the application for trade license of the 'Golden Chariot Hospitality Services Private Limited' was rejected by the fire brigade on October 13, 2014, for not producing relevant documents and also due to the discrepancies in the documents. Subsequently, the license was granted to the hotel.

However, it has also come to light that Golden Chariot’s sister concern 'Balaji Grand' located in the same premises, also sails in the same boat. Based on a complaint by the Right To Information (RTI) activists Shaikh Fakruddin Juned and Sulaiman Bhimani, the Divisional Fire Officer (DFO) A V Bangar, vide his letter dated February 12, 2016 had directed 'Balaji Grand' not to carry out trade activities till all the safety norms are implemented. Subsequently the BMC’s Assistant Commissioner (P South) on December 1, 2016 had issued a show cause notice to 'Balaji Grand' asking why its trade license No. 887353104 should not be revoked.

But according to the complainants Shaikh and Bhimani, “Balaji Grand has been continuing its activities regardless of the action by the BMC and the fire department. The 'Balaji Grand' has obtained the trade license showing the operational area as 188.56 square mtrs, whereas the hotel was using 216 square mtrs area. Besides, it had kept very narrow passage of 2.8 mtrs for patrons to access wash rooms.

The hotel has also erected a loft over the kitchen area without obtaining the approval of the concerned authorities including the fire department, which was highly objectionable from the safety point of view. Also, the kitchen was not provided with a rear exit as per the requirement of the fire department’s No Objection Certificate (NOC) No. FBL/S/409/67 dated April 16, 2009 which was highly objectionable.

When contacted, the Balaji Grand officials maintained that a relevant explanation has been given and the documents are submitted to the concerned authorities. However, according to Shaikh and Bhimani, the stay granted for the Golden Chariot cannot be used as a blanket to cover the irregularities in Balaji Grand.

POSTED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY
Sulaiman Bhimani
9323642081
sulaimanbhimani11@gmail.com

Link to the news paper http://www.afternoondc.in/city-news/flouting-of-norms-continues/article_196342 

Appeal to all to support the cause by signing and promoting the petition http://tinyurl.com/jk47wmf  The petition is about safety of Innocent people from Fire Hazard due to high scale corruption in Fire Dept and inaction as well as lethargy of Fire Dept. endangering lives of many innocent citizens.

To support and sign kindly open the link http://tinyurl.com/jk47wmf  

20.1.2017

To,

The Hon’ble Chief  Minister,
Shri Devendra Fadnavis,
Mantralaya, 6th Floor, Madame Cama Road,
Mumbai – 400032.
To
Municipal Commissioner,
BMC Head Office, Mahapalika Marg,
Mumbai – 400001.
To
Mumbai Police Commissioner,
T. Marg, Opp. Crawford Market,
Mumbai – 400002.

    Sub: Inaction by the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) of Mumbai Fire Brigade, Suburban Head Quarters, Marol Fire Station, Marol Naka, Mumbai, (and other officers) with regards to the illegal constructions done and subsequent fire at “Golden Chariot Restaurant” in “The Hub Mall”, Goregaon (East), Mumbai. (Hereinafter referred to as “said Restaurant” for sake of brevity), on 28.12.2016.

Sir / Madam,

  1. We, the undersigned, fully support this Petition created by the NGO – “Citizens Justice Forum” which is working in the public interest to protest against the inaction of the concerned officers against the said Restaurant which had grossly violated construction norms and thus had resulted in a big fire on 28.12.2016.
  1. It is highly regrettable that the authorities entrusted with the implementation of the Fire Safety norms have miserably failed to perform their duties which gave a liberty to a few devious persons to violate the law with impunity.
  1. The said Restaurant has been operating illegally since 2008 without the mandatory permissions from MCGM – the Bldg. and Factory Dept., Fire Department etc. On 16.1.2013 the Fire Brigade Department of the MCGM after inspection of the said restaurant, submitted a report to the CFO, notifying him about the gross violations and a demand to initiate penal action against the said Restaurant. (We annex a copy of the said letter as Exhibit “A” )
  1. CGM, Fire Department via letter dated 19.6.2014 once again notified the CFO about the various encroachments, construction in the fire exit area, deviation from the sanctioned plans and again recommended immediate action against the said Restaurant. (A copy of the said letter has been annexed and marked as Exhibit “B”).
  1. Again MCGM’s Fire Department via letter dated 14.11.14 submitted afresh complaint to the CFO highlighting the disobedience and defiance by the said restaurant and continuation of the various violations in spite of multiple notices. They also informed the CFO that the MOH and Fire Brigade Department have rejected the application for the trade license of the said Restaurant. Despite the repeated reminders by the MCGM’s Fire Department, the CFO chose not to take any action against the said Restaurant. This non-performance of the statutory duty by the CFO undeniably amounts to aiding and abetting unauthorized constructions and nexus with this law-breaker for possible illegal gratifications. ( A copy of the said letter has been annexed and marked as Exhibit “C”.)
  1. On 28.12.2016 at 12.20 p.m a major fire broke out in the said Restaurant which is situated on the second floor of the Hub Mall. Sweltering fire engulfed the said Restaurant and the people inside did not have any immediate access to any of the Fire Exits as the illegal alteration and construction had blocked all the exits of the said Restaurant. A major tragedy was thwarted due to the timely action of the six fire tenders pressed into service by the Fire Brigade department. The fire was quelled only in the evening and the incident was covered largely by the media also. ( A copy of the print media coverage on the above said incident is annexed and marked as Exhibit-“D”.)
  1. It is pertinent to note that even after the blaze on 28.12.2016, no action whatsoever has been initiated against the said Restaurant by the CFO nor an FIR has been lodged which is in contravention of the the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2009.
  1. Furthermore, to add insult to injury, the said Restaurant is functioning as usual, posing a serious threat to the unwary patrons who may become victims to the manipulations and connivance of the authorities and the owners of the said Restaurant, in case a similar incident recurs, rendering their lives in peril.
  1. With great remorse it is submitted that if such delaying and colluding tactics are to be stopped, some stringent action has to be taken by ruthlessly demolishing the illegal constructions and alterations made by the said restaurant by following the due process of law.
  1. Eegretfully it has become a sort of a norm in our society that affluent persons can escape the clutches of law or twist the arm of law by some manipulation and greasing of palms. This norm must be proved wrong and a true meaning should be given to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. I hereby earnestly request you to inquire into this matter with urgency and issue directions to the concerned authorities to initiate appropriate action against the said restaurant at the earliest and not wait for another fatal fire incident to occur.
  2. The period to rectify and make necessary changes or to meet the compliance as per law is 120 days after giving the notice. But more than 120 days have lapsed and no compliance has been met till date under the Rules of Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measure Act, 2006. Under the latter Law there is a provision to start prosecution proceedings by lodging FIR regarding non- compliance of fire and life safety regulation by competent authority i.e. Mumbai fire Brigade. But Mumbai Fire Brigade failed to take any action for reasons best known to them. To the common man it would be appear to be for illegal gratifications.
  1. There should be Departmental Inquiry to probe the involvement of Fire Brigade staff, Asstt. Mun. Commissioner, Astt. Engr. (B&F), MoH etc. of MCGM’s P/South ward, Police Officers of Vanrai Police Station etc. These law-enforcers should be dealt strictly in accordance with the Service Rules,  Prevention of Corruption Act, IPC and other laws of the land and criminal proceeding should be initiated against them
  1. We would like to draw your attention to Section 10 of the Transfers and Delays Act 21 of 2006/ (64C of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act)which mandates that no decision can be kept pending for over 3 months. In the instant case, no action is initiated despite complaints being made from December 2015. So we request to conduct a preliminary enquiry to fix responsibility on the officers responsible for this delay and take appropriate disciplinary action against them. We request that the report of the enquiry may please be sent to us, furnished to the media and uploaded on the MCGM and Maharashtra Govt. website.
  1. We further wish to state that these concerned officers ( viz. the Mumbai Fore Brigade’s CFO, MoH, A.E. (B&F) of P/South ward, Sr. Police Inspector of Vanrai Police Station, concerned ACP and DCP etc. by their inaction on this gross illegality are violating the following provisions and attract punishment under :

IPC 217:   Public servant disobeying direction of law with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture.

IPC 218:   Public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfei­ture.

IPC 221:   Intentional omission to apprehend on the part of public servant bound to apprehend.

So we urge you to at least now take immediate suitable action to prevent similar tragedy and punish all the concerned officers who had connived to facilitate illegal construction which had resulted in this inferno.

We would appreciate if we are inform of the action taken on our above concerns  and the inquiry reports as and when they are completed.

 

Sincerely Yours

 

Sulaiman Bhimani

President
Citizens Justice Forum
+919323642081

Citizensjusticeforum@gmail.com

Copy of letter to CFO along withNotices attached requesting to take action against Golden chariot restaurant dated13th July 2015.

Copy Of letter to Vanrai Policestation and Asst Commissioner P/South ward to take action against GoldenChariot restaurant, dated 9th Jan 2015.

News Paper coverage

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/mumbai-hub-mall-fire-brings-to-fore-irregularities-4449627/

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/mumbai-fire-in-goregaons-hub-mall-no-one-hurt/17867174

http://www.afternoondc.in/city-news/not-so-golden-this-chariot/article_184619

To,

Mrs. I A Kundan

Additional Municipal Commissioner (Western Suburbs)
To 
CFO,
To 
ACB Mumbai
To
DCP
Kiran Kumar  Chavan

To
DMC
Kiran Achrekar

Sub: A) High Level Corruption in Fire Department, CFO Fails to submit Fire report even after three weeks of fire incident to favor owner of Golden Chariot and fails to initiate prosecution proceeding against the owner of Golden Chariot Restaurant even after incident of Fire taking place on 28th December 2016.

  1. B) CFO had already issued 3 notices to the Golden chariot restaurantfor non compliance of Fire Safety Norms in last three years, but chooses not to take any action due to vested interest risking life of many innocent citizens
  1. C) The MOH and Fire Brigade Department have rejected the application for the trade license of M/s. Golden Chariot Hospitality Service Pvt. Ltd.but the restaurant is ruining and doing business as usual

Respected Sir / Madam

This is a clear case of undue favor given to Golden Chariot Restaurant at Hub Mall, Goregaon East, THE CFO,  MOH B&F department of MCGM and Police fail to take any action after the incident of fire took placed on 28th December 2016,

The Fire department till date has not submitted their report even after three weeks to the police for further investigation and prosecution of filing FIR.

The Fire Department have already issued 3 notices before to the Golden Chariot restaurant for non compliance of fire safety norms before incident of fire took placed on 28th December 2016,

The offences are of serious nature

  1. i) The Fire exit was converted in to cold storage 
  2. ii) The passage leading to Fire exit was encroached and converted into restaurant dining area  

iii) The AHU's and Electric rooms converted into commercial rooms (these are free of FSI loss to the state and violation of FSI norms)

  1. iv) The common ladies toilets were modified and altered without any approval of any authorities into ladies and gents, and were illegally taken in to the restaurant denying access to visitors of the MALL

All the above have lapses and observation have been mentioned in the all the three notices issued time and again

1st Notice the inspection by the fire brigade department of the MCGM. On inspection of the site, the said authority submitted a report dated 16.1.13 to CFO with necessary recommendations and actions to be in initiated. The report clearly directed that the activities of the said restaurant be verified and necessary action be taken.

2nd Notice report dated 19.6.14 to the Dy. CFO which recommends the following actions:

a.) Verification addition/alteration amalgamation, encroachment of fire exit, removal of unauthorized fire exit passage, toilet, loft etc.

b.) To direct the party to keep the necessary no. of fire extinguishers as directed by the said authority.

3rd Notice by MCGM, fire brigade department once again submitted a complaint report dated 14.11.14 to the CFO. The highlights of the observations in the said report are as follows:

  1. a)In the north side landing on the second floor, the staircase landing was partially obstructed by keeping refrigerator and other things by the Golden Chariot restaurant and an unauthorized construction of the steel frame plywood sheet enclosure box of A.C. unit and a steel ladder for access to the loft in encroached area of common passage by the Golden Chariot restaurant.
  2. b)The common toilet block along with its approach passage and way to emergency exit of north side staircase was blocked for public use by illegally encroaching and utilizing it for restaurant activity by Golden chariot Restaurant.
  3. c)The amalgamation of two shops n0. 23 and 24 along with its front common passage was done and merged it in dining area by Golden Chariot Restaurant without taking NOC and sanctioning the plan fromthe Fire Brigade Department.
  4. d)In view of the above circumstance, I have to inform you that the MOH and Fire Brigade Department have rejected the application for the trade license of M/s. Golden Chariot Hospitality Service Pvt. Ltd.

The period to rectify and make necessary changes or to meet the compliance as per law is 120 days after giving the notice, more than 120 days have lapsed and no compliance has been met till date Under Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measure Act, 2006 Rules there is a provision to start prosecution proceedings by lodging FIR regarding non compliance of fire and life safety regulation by competent authority i.e. Mumbai fire Brigade. But Mumbai Fire Brigade failed to take any action reason best known to them or were they were bribed is question that will come to anybody’s mind

There should be departmental Inquiry on the involvement of Fire Brigade staff, P/ South ward MCGM concerned officers and the police officers of vanrai and they should be dealt strictly in accordance with law and should not only be suspended but criminal proceeding should be initiated against them

We would like to draw your attention to Section 10 of the Transfers and Delays Act 21 of 2006/ (64C of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act) which mandates that no decision can be kept pending for over 3 months. In the instant case, no action is initiated despite the complaints are made from December 20115, we request to conduct a preliminary enquiry to fix responsibility on the officers responsible for this delay and take appropriate disciplinary action against them. We request that the report of the enquiry may please be sent to us

We further wish to bring to your knowledge certain penal provisions which bring the CFO. MCGM Staff (i.e. MOH, B& F dept.) under the purview:

The Indian Penal Code

IPC 217: Public servant disobeying direction of law with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture

IPC 218: Public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfei­ture

IPC 218: Intentional omission to apprehend on the part of public servant bound to apprehend.

Thanking you in anticipation of immediate action

Sincerely Yours

Sulaiman Bhimani

President

Citizens Justice Forum

+919323642081

Citizensjusticeforum@gmail.com

Copy of letter to CFO along withNotices attached requesting to take action against Golden chariot restaurant dated13th July 2015.

Copy Of letter to Vanrai Policestation and Asst Commissioner P/South ward to take action against GoldenChariot restaurant, dated 9th Jan 2015.

News Paper coverage

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/mumbai-hub-mall-fire-brings-to-fore-irregularities-4449627/

http://www.mid-day.com/articles/mumbai-fire-in-goregaons-hub-mall-no-one-hurt/17867174

http://www.afternoondc.in/city-news/not-so-golden-this-chariot/article_184619

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