At a time when the country’s commercial capital has been plagued by fires, the Mumbai Fire Brigade (MFB) has no information on the status of the mandatory fire audits for all buildings, an RTI response has revealed.
Right to Information (RTI) activist Anil Galgali had sought the information on the fire audits, entrusted to the MFB, in the wake of the devastating fire in Kamala Mills Compound in December 2017 and other subsequent fires which claimed many lives in the city.
“I sought details of the total number of buildings, the type, buildings where fire audits were completed or pending ward-wise on January 1 across the city,” Galgali said.
However, even after a delay of three months, the MFB’s Divisional Fire Officer S.D. Sawant merely replied that as per the Maharashtra Fire Prevention Life Safety Act 2006, it was now mandatory for the owners, occupiers or housing societies to get fire audits conducted by approved/licences auditors.
These reports would be submitted to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and to the MFB which, in turn, would upload them on their website, the official said.
“Strangely, despite such a serious issue with the lives of people at stake, the MFB has not collected details on the number of the audit reports of buildings which have been submitted to it or even uploaded on their website,” Galgali said.
For Mumbai, a Nominated Officer under the Act has been authorised in all the 34 fire stations to conduct inspections of the buildings in their jurisdiction limits. Yet the MFB has no clue on the progress of the fire audits completed in their respective areas, he pointed out.
Galgali said he has now written to the Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta about the MFB’s ‘delay tactics’.
He said it was imperative to get the names of those buildings/societies not complying with the law published on the website to ‘shame and force them’ to act in the interests of their residents and overall safety of life and properties.