The Kamala Mills fire is another tragic reminder -- three months after the Elphinstone Road station stampede killed more than 20 people--that Mumbai's Lower Parel area is in urgent need of an infrastructure overhaul, according to urban planning experts and architects. However, is that not the case of so many other areas as well? Those who have gone through the areas of Mohammedali road, or Pydhonie or Lal Baug or mostly any other crowded locality in Mumbai would agree that there is no planning or order of any sort. We see everything from overhanging wires to cheek to jowl shanties to restaurants and eateries with open cooking spilling out on the streets.
All this did not happen in one day, tragedies like Kamala mills are waiting to happen and the entire commercial hub of the country that is Mumbai, today sits on a powder keg of impending catastrophe due to corruption, bribery, neglect and apathy from top to bottom in the town planning hierarchy.
If anything the tragedy once again pokes a finger into our eyes and tells us what we at Prolite have been telling for ages. Tragedies need to be pre empted and fire safety and evacuation protocols followed to the letter if such horrors are to be prevented. The planned and strategic installation of emergency lighting, signages and backup relief measures such as multiple exit points, emergency exits, alarms, fire extinguishers, staff training and regular maintenance must be non-negotiable for public eateries and outlets. It hurts to know that we only expected what happened and are expecting even more in future if this scenario continues and there is little we can really do about it.