In a drive against hotels, restaurants and roadside food stalls flouting civic norms, the BMC has seized about 3,405 illegal LPG cylinders after raiding a total of 26,270 eateries in Mumbai in last seven months.
“Out of the 3,405 illegal cylinders seized, we have handed over 1,495 cylinders to HPCL and 1,455 cylinders to BPCL,” a senior official of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said.
The rest 455 illegal cylinders would be handed over to petroleum companies in the coming days, he said.
Following the fire at a hotel in suburban Kurla, in which eight persons were charred to death in October last year, the BMC had launched a crackdown on the eateries which run their establishments using illegally procured LPG cylinders.
From March to September this year, the civic body carried out raids against roadside food stalls and hotels.
“Our teams comprising fire officials and designated officers are visiting each ward, checking the eateries for irregularities and if found flouting the norms, we seize their cylinders as well as other belongings,” BMC’s deputy superintendent of license (western suburb) Prakash Jadhav said.
“We levy the fine as per laid down procedures and return their belongings, but confiscate their cylinders and handcarts. We return the cylinders to petroleum companies and crush the carts,” Mr. Jadhav said.
Before kick-starting the crackdown against eateries which flout norms by using illegal cylinders, BMC chief Ajoy Mehta had sent a letter to senior officials of the petroleum companies and asked them to follow extra caution before selling the LPG cylinders to non-bonafide users.
“It seems that petroleum companies are not cross-checking the details of cylinder buyers and the sale of cylinders to non-bonafide customers is very rampant,” a senior official of the BMC alleged.
“The distribution of gas cylinders is very important as well as critical, but these are being misused which is putting people’s lives under threat,” he said.
The crackdown team of the civic body also faced stiff opposition during raids at some eateries.
“Few days back, when our team was carrying out its raid, few food stall owners attacked us and our men got injured,” Mr. Jadhav said, adding that a case was filed with Kandivali police and the offenders were booked under relevant IPC sections.