Is Hema Malini right in blaming high population for Mumbai fire?
Mumbai, Dec 30: When it comes to politicians, trust them to make bizarre comments, especially during a crisis situation.
On Friday, residents of Mumbai were inflicted with insensitive comments made by politicians cutting across party lines after a massive fire at a rooftop pub claimed 14 lives in the city.
Reacting to the deadly accident, BJP MP Hema Malini said such accidents occur due to high population and suggested that a population limit should be fixed for each city.
The fire, which also injured 21 people, started after 12.30 am in the "1 Above" pub on the terrace, and spread to Mojo pub on the third floor one level below, said an official of the Mumbai civic body, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
1 Above and Mojo are located in the Trade House Building in Kamala Mills compound in Lower Parel area, a popular night spot as well as commercial hub housing several offices including national television channels.
The actor-turned-politician said the accident took place due to the negligence of authorities and wondered how could they ignore safety standards before giving permission to run such pubs.
To a query by a TV channel about frequent accidents in Mumbai, she said, "It is because of too much population in Mumbai city.
"Some restrictions should be imposed on population. First of all, each city should have certain population, certain limit. After that they (people) should not be allowed. Let them go to another city, next city," Malini said.
Minister of State (MoS) for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Babul Supriyo said he has spent "half of his life in Parel area and recalled that just two days before his daughter had gone to Kamala Mills with her friends.
He said stringent action would be taken against those found guilty in the incident.
BJP MP Kirit Somaiya said he had asked Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and BMC commissioner to order a special fire audit of all such pubs and hookah parlours in Mumbai.
"Several such establishments at the mills compound are illegal, part of which was regularised lately. The place where the blaze took place was illegal," he claimed.
Stating that the BMC officials were "responsible for the murder of people" in the Kamala Mill fire, Somaiya pointed out this was second such incident in 15 days.
"When will the BMC wake up?" he asked.
On December 18, at least 12 workers were killed and one injured when a massive fire broke out at a snack shop in Sakinaka-Kurla area in Mumbai.
"Kamala mill, Raghuvanshi mill, Maatulyaa mill, Toddi mills, Phoneix mill complexes have such huge illegal structures. I had requested BMC commissioner to order an investigation of all these death traps. The nexus of BMC Mafias/Officials/Restaurant Owners," Somaiya hit out in a tweet.
Reacting to the fatal incident, Neelam Krishnamoorthy, president, an association of victims of Uphaar tragedy, said, "Each time I see a fire taking place and people dying, it angers me a lot and I feel I have miserably failed in my endeavor to stop such fire incidents. I would blame the judiciary and the government for this."
While sane voices like that of Krishnamoorthy are rare to find in today's time, it's our politicians who are busy making callous remarks when so many innocent people have died because of the lapse on the part of government authorities in Mumbai.