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Kamala Mills Fire: the lack of knowledge of evacuation programs put citizen in danger

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The incident clearly tells us that there is lack of awareness among people about how to react in such panic-stricken situation

Today, Mumbai woke up to a horrible news as the city that never sleeps was bracing itself to welcome the New year. The Horrid fire at Mojo Bistro bar at Mumbai’s Kamala mills gutted 14 young lives and injured 19 others.

Also Read: How equipped is Mumbai to tackle safety measures for a fire in restaurants?

Kamala Mills has in the recent past become a go-to place for the millennials in the Mumbai. It also houses several media houses, restaurants and pubs. Located in South Mumbai, the place has become a hub for late night outings, parties and receives a considerably large footfall.

When the Mojo’s caught fire, nearly 150 people were inside partying. According to the Chief Fire officer, there was not enough equipment inside the room to take quick action. However, the owners disagree. In a statement, the owner said that they have all the necessary license and required documents.

Also Watch: #KudosMumbai: 97 Women From Rural Maharashtra Recruited In City Fire Brigade

The BMC must answer why and how the license was issued when the pub did not arrange for enough equipment to deal with such inadvertent situations. According to a circular dated 7th February 2012, the buildings which fall in High Rise category should have minimum 15 meters wide entrance roads. The narrow passage of entry at the Mojo was clearly in violation of the guidelines.

But, the glaring detail we might be missing here is, how the most of the death happened. According to an eyewitness, “People ran towards the entrance as soon as they heard about the fire. Many people also ran towards the restrooms.” One of the firefighting officers said, “Most of the deaths happened due to suffocation. We found maximum dead bodies in the restroom.”

Also Watch: Another Day, Another Collapse: Are we safe in our homes

The incident clearly tells us that there is lack of awareness among people about how to react in such panic-stricken situation. How many of us know what measures to take, how to conduct ourselves to escape the fire except for running? According to the circular, “Regular and periodic mock-up drills shall be undertaken by the Fire Department at least once in a year”. It further states, “Applicable guidelines of Fire Department National/State Disaster Management Authority shall be strictly followed by the developer and occupiers/Cooperative Societies.”

On the one hand, it is a case of sheer negligence; at the same time lack of understanding of the situation too played a role in the death of the people. While our civic bodies are to be blamed for the negligence; as a citizen, we must from now onwards take precautionary measures and create awareness.

Also Read: Ghatkopar Building Collapse: shouldn’t we learn from our mistakes?

There should often be mock drills and people should be educated about how to evacuate safely and quickly in case of fire. In the above case, the people did not even know where the emergency door was. It is essential that in such situation presence of mind should be used instead of panicking and worsening the situation.

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Central government not in favour of slashing excise duty on fuel prices

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As mentioned by a senior official on Monday, the finance ministry is not in favour of cutting excise duty on fuel prices even though petrol prices hit a 55-month high in the national capital today at Rs 74.50 per litre, while diesel rates reached Rs 65.75. The finance ministry instead wants states to cut sales tax or Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel, he added.

It must be mentioned that the government wants to reduce fiscal deficit to 3.3% of the GDP in the current fiscal from 3.5% of the last fiscal. “Excise duty cut would be a political call, but is not advisable if we have to stick to the fiscal deficit glide path outlined in Budget,” he said.

“Every rupee cut of excise on fuel will result in a loss of Rs 13,000 crore to the government,” the official said, adding that the oil ministry has not yet officially asked for a cut in fuel excise duty.

State-owned oil firms, which have been since June last year revising auto fuel prices daily, today raised petrol and diesel rates by 10 paise per litre each in Delhi, according to a price notification.

India has the highest retail prices of petrol and diesel among South Asian nations as taxes account for half of the pump rates.

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Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry and 3 Northeastern states to rollout intra-State e-way bill from April 25

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Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Meghalaya are the 3 northeastern states to join

The GST council on Monday announced the third phase of the e-way bill system for the intra-state transport of goods. From April 25 this system will be further applied in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim, and Puducherry.

Till now the e-way bill system is applicable for intra-State transport in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh.

The union government issued a release and said: “E-way bills are getting generated successfully and till 22nd April 2018, more than 1.84 crore e-way bills have been successfully generated which includes more than 22 lakh e-way bills for the intra-State movement of goods”.

“With the roll-out of e-way bill system in these States/union territory, it is expected that trade and industry will be further facilitated insofar as the transport of goods is concerned, thereby eventually paving the way for a nation-wide single e-waybill system,” the government further added.

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Home Ministry withdraws AFSPA from Meghalaya, eight police stations in Arunachal Pradesh

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NEW DELHI: The Union Home Ministry on Monday in its gazette notification has withdrawn the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA) from the state of Meghalaya as well as eight police stations in Arunachal Pradesh.

The ministry has issued a statement that AFSPA has been revoked from all parts of Meghalaya and has been reduced from 16 police stations to eight, with effect from March 31, 2018.

Till September 2017, 40 percent of Meghalaya was under AFSPA.

The Congress member of Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh Ninong Ering has been opposing the extension of the AFSPA in some parts of the state, saying it was “misused by the army”. Ering said that in the name of the Act, the army “harassed and tortured” villagers.

AFSPA is now applicable only to 8 police stations in Arunachal, down from 16 police stations in 2017. The Home Ministry has also enhanced the aid under the surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy for militants in the northeast from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 4 lakh. The policy will be applicable from April 1, 2018.

The government also relaxed the restricted area permit and protected area permit for foreigners visiting Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland. Restrictions, however, will remain for “countries of concern”, which include Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China.

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act was enacted in 1958 to bring under control what the government of India considered ‘disturbed’ areas.

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