On one hand the BMC has acted against erring hotels which have flouted fire safety norms on the other hand it has turned a blind eye towards hawkers who cook on streets.
Even though the BMC has initiated a massive crackdown against grade 2 and 3 hotels across the city but why did the civic body wake up only after the Hotel City Kinara fire incident which claimed the lives of eight persons. If the civic body had taken this action earlier then it could have averted the accident. On one hand the BMC has acted against erring hotels which have flouted fire safety norms on the other hand it has turned a blind eye towards hawkers who cook on streets. Vendors don’t follow any safety norms while cooking on streets but often no action is taken against them. Many of them pay hefty bribes to officials and hence they are allowed to go scot free.
As per records available with the BMC out of the 3 lakh vendors around 1 lakh vendors sell vada pav and Chinese food. Many of them use cylinders for cooking on streets but don’t adhere to safety norms there by putting people’s lives at risk. Most of them cook unhygienic food. Since food is available at cheap rates hence people visit these vendors for having food. They also don’t wash the vessels properly after cooking. Most of the cooked food is kept uncovered which may create health problems for customers.
All these vendors have been carrying out their business in the city for several years but no civic body official has bothered to monitor their functioning. Corporators have raised the issue of inaction by the civic body against street vendors. Earlier the Bombay High Court had issued a directive banning the sale of eatables, tobacco products within a radius of 100 metres from schools, hospitals and religious places. However, vendors continue to flout these norms and sell eatables near schools and hospitals. Corporators also asked whether the civic body will take action against the erring street vendors.
Sunil Sharma a Kandivali resident said, “The BMC only wakes up after the occurrence of a major fire accident. What were the officials doing before the Hotel City Kinara fire incident? What would have happened if the fire would have spread in the vicinity and claimed more lives?.”
Yogesh Pawar, a Borivali resident said, “The BMC must undertake a regular inspection of hotels to ascertain whether they are following the fire safety norms. Strict action must be taken against those who are flouting the safety norms.”
Rakesh Shah, a Malad resident said, “Right now BMC is only focussing on hotels and are not inspecting the vendors who cook food on streets. Actually street vendors cook food and don’t maintain hygiene. If people eat this food then they might fall ill.”