BMC submits its report on Kamala Mills fire; Recommends imposing a heavy penalty on the builder
Two years after a fire in Kamala Mills took the lives of 14 people, the BMC has prepared its report on the building irregularities that led to the incident. This report was prepared by Additional Municipal Commissioner Vijay Singhal which was then submitted to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Chief Praveen Pardeshi last week.
The report mentions that several FSI (floor space index) violations in the building can be regularized by levying a heavy penalty on the builder. It also reveals that around 11,296.04 sq m of the area at Kamala Mills was not accounted for by FSI, which meant it should have been utilized for common spaces, passages, elevators, exits, and so on. However, it was found that this part of the land was used for commercial purposes.
The report also mentions that there are currently no methods in place to have an electrical safety audit for buildings with large numbers of machinery or appliances. This is also because the BMC doesn't have a mechanism in place for an electrical audit.
So the BMC is said to be seeking the help of agencies like the PWD (Public Works Department) or any other credible authority to conduct comprehensive electrical audits. In the BMC's 2020-21 civic budget, the authorities have eased restrictions on the unauthorized use of land meant for car decks, flower beds or lofts. This is despite these areas not being part of the FSI. To rectify this, the BMC will reportedly offer additional FSI/fungible FSI to the builders.
'Many unauthorized areas can be regularized. The penalty is 100% of FSI utilized but we plan to reduce the same. This only applies to legal buildings which have done deviations like enclosing flower bed area, for instance. So now, for example, if an owner has enclosed 100 sq ft area, maybe 15% of the penalty they will have to pay now,' a BMC official said.