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Kamala Mills fire: Probe on to ascertain what caused Mumbai pub blaze

A day after a devastating blaze at a central Mumbai pub claimed 14 lives, fire brigade officials on Saturday said the department was probing whether flames during a fire stunt by a bartender, burning coal used for hookah or a short circuit led to the tragedy.The blaze had started after 12.30 am on Friday at the ‘1 Above’ pub on the terrace of Trade House Building in Kamala Mills compound in Lower Parel, a commercial hub, resulting in the collapse of its bamboo-propped canopy. The fire, which left several people injured, also engulfed Mojo’s Bistro, a pub a storey below. Most of the 14 victims died of asphyxiation.”We are probing if the flames created during a fire stunt by a bartender at the pub came in contact with plastic sheets that covered the bamboo structure and triggered the blaze. We are also trying to find out whether the burning coal used for hookah at the adjacent restaurant led to the tragedy,” a fire official said.All other possibilities, including that of short circuit, is also being probed, he added.The police have booked Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the pub, along with others, under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).After the fire, some escaped to safety, while others found their way blocked by fire and suffocating smoke. Many panicked patrons took shelter in a toilet, where they were asphyxiated to death.Among those killed was Khushbu Bansali, the woman who was celebrating her 29th birthday at ‘1 Above’ pub in upscale Parel’s Kamala Mill compound, and several of her friends.The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) yesterday suspended five officials, including those attached to the G- South ward for dereliction of duty. There are allegations that civic authorities turned a blind eye to construction irregularities and violation of fire safety norms in the compound.Also readKamala Mills Fire: Two young men enter into death trap to save aunt, never to come backRelated Photos
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In Pics: The day after Kamala Mills blaze, families mourn
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In Pics: Massive midnight fire at Mumbai’s Kamala Mills Compound kills 14; many restaurants gutted The same central Mumbai area–a former textile mill district now dotted by swanky glass-and-concrete towers–had witnessed death of 23 people in a stampede at a railway bridge on September 29 this year.

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Kamala Mills fire: 14 killed in inferno during birthday bash, BMC suspends 5 officials after Fadnavis promises action

A massive fire swept through a plush rooftop pub in downtown Mumbai during a birthday bash before swiftly raging through the building, leaving 14 people dead and 21 injured, officials said today.Among those killed was Khushbu Bansali, the woman who was celebrating her 29th birthday at “1 Above” pub in upscale Parel’s Kamala Mill compound, and several of her friends.Two American brothers of Indian origin, and their aunt, who had gone to celebrate Khushbu’s birthday, were also among the dead.The blaze, the cause of which is not clear yet, started after 12.30 am at the 1 Above pub on the terrace, resulting in collapse of its bamboo-propped canopy, as towering flames leapt metres into the dark sky. It also engulfed the Mojo’s Bistro pub a storey below.Most of the victims died of asphyxiation, said Avinash Supe, dean of the KEM hospital where the injured and dead were brought.Also readKamala Mills fire: Know the story behind this pictureThe mirth and merriment of the party gave way to mayhem as people, screaming and scamparing, looked for exit doors, toppling and trampling over each other.Some escaped to safety, while others found their way blocked by fire and suffocating smoke.Many panicked patrons took shelter in a toilet, and got asphyxiated to death. Some could make it out alive.Teams of fire brigade and police rushed to the spot and 35 injured people were pulled out from inside the pub and taken to hospital, a police official said.Several media outlets, including TV news channels Times Now, ET Now and TV9 Marathi, have offices in the complex.Harish Pathak, head of the forensic department at KEM Hospital said most of those who lost their lives in the tragedy were brought dead.Police have booked Hratesh Sanghvi, Jigar Sanghvi and Abhijeet Manka of C Grade Hospitality, which manages the pub, along with others, under various charges including cuplable homicide not amounting to murder.They have also been charged under IPC sections 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).Two of those booked have been detained. The civic body of the megapolis-BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation–suspended its five officials belonging to various branches over their role in the incident.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind expressed anguish over the tragedy.”Anguished by the fire in Mumbai. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. I pray that those injured recover quickly,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.Also readKamala Mills tragedy: Pub claims fire emanated from ‘adjoining quarters,’ rejects cops’ version on safety violations Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner to hold an enquiry and submit a report within 15 days.”Five (civic) officials have already been suspended and appropriate sections of the Indian Penal Code will be invoked against the owners of the pub, making them responsible for the loss of lives. The guilty won’t be spared,” Fadnavis said.Business rivals–1 Above and Mojo’s Bistro–that bore the brunt of the inferno, claimed all fire safety measures were in place at their premises.However, 1 Above claimed Mojo’s Bistro did not have an emergency exit, leading to overcrowding of its escape avenues.”1 Above has all its fire safety regulations, licences, procedures and norms in place. We’ve been able to help save many lives thanks to our fire safety protocols,” the statement claimed.A statement from Mojo’s claimed the facility had all its fire safety norms, certificates and procedures in place.The staff, it said, was “thoroughly trained” in fire drills due to which the guests could be evacuated.Some patrons of ‘1 Above’ casually took selfies of the massive flames and plumes of smoke that soared into the sky, while a few others lay immobilised in drunken stupor, delaying evacuation, eyewitnesses and rescuers said.”At around ten minutes past midnight, I got out of my office after hearing commotion. A sea of people came rushing at me. They were basically running wherever the pathway led them to,” Mahesh Sable, who works for a private security agency and helped evacuate around 150 people from the Trade House Building, told PTI.”We could hear calls for help, glasses were breaking, bottles were falling down, the entire place was in flames and engulfed by smoke. I could not go in again after getting the injured people out,” he said.His colleague Sanjay Giri, who was also on the night shift, said he was on the ground floor and rushed up to guide the patrons who were stuck.Also readMumbai’s Kamala Mills Fire | When midnight birthday bash turned into a funeral Giri said initially the drunken stupor of some of the patrons and an obsession with getting videos of the rooftop pub engulfed in fire delayed rescue efforts.”I guided whoever we could see. It was later, after we went down, that they told us about their relatives and friends being stuck in the toilet. A few voice and video calls were also made,” Giri added.One of the survivors told a TV news channel that her friend, who had got locked inside a toilet, called her up on the mobile phone desperately seeking help. She could not be brought out alive.Dr Sulbha KG Arora, a Mumbai doctor, told NDTV news channel, she was at the 1 Above restaurant.”There was no time for anyone to reach out because the fire spread so rapidly. The staff members of the restaurant were trying to help the customers as much as possible,” she told NDTV on the phone.”There was a stampede and someone pushed me. People were running over me even as the ceiling above me was collapsing in flames,” she said separately in a tweet. “Still don’t know how I got out alive.”

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Cyclone Ockhi pours cold water on poll campaign

Amid the heat of the Gujarat polls, cyclone Ockhi, eddying menacingly towards the state’s coast, poured cold water on the campaigning today, forcing cancellation of rallies of several top leaders, including those by BJP chief Amit Shah and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, appealed to BJP workers to extend a helping hand to those that would be likely hit by the cyclone, which is expected to make a landfall tonight on the state’s southern coast in Surat. Shah’s poll rallies scheduled today in Rajula town of Amreli and Mahuva and Shihor of Bhavnagar district have been cancelled, a party release said. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi held a poll rally in Anjar but cancelled three in Morbi, Dhrangadhra and Surendranagar due to the impending cyclone.BJP MP Manoj Tiwari’s roadshow in Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad was also cancelled due to light showers since early morning, Bapunagar MLA Jagroopsinh Rajput said. The BJP has also called off rallies and press conferences of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Surat today, a party leader said. Former Congress strongman Shankersinh Vaghela, who floated his ‘Jan Vikalp’ front, was also forced to cancel his roadshows and rallies that were to be held in Junagadh, and Mahuva and Palitana towns of Saurashtra, a leader of his outfit said.Though Vaghela was supposed to reach Surat tonight, he dropped his plan due to the approaching cyclone.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 39 dead in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, 167 fishermen missingMeanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the Gujarat BJP workers to focus on providing assistance to the people likely to be hit by the cyclonic storm. “With CycloneOckhi expected to make a landfall in Gujarat, I appeal to BJP Gujarat Karyakartas (workers) to focus on helping people across the state. Our Karyakartas should devote themselves to providing all possible assistance and stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens,” Modi tweeted.Inspired by his tweet, BJP leaders in Surat suspended all their campaign-related work and began shifting people to safer places, the ruling party MLA from Surat’s Majura seat, Harsh Sanghvi, said.”We have decided not to do any kind of campaigning until the effect of cyclone remains. Since this morning, all our workers have spread across the city to help people. We are moving them to safer locations. During this work, we will not wear any scarves having BJP’s election symbol,” Sanghvi said.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Schools in Mumbai, other parts of Maharashtra to remain open on Wednesday The latest weather forecast said cyclone Ockhi has moved closer to the southern coast and is about 390 kms from Surat.
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Yogi Adityanath

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It’s raining offers at CREDAI-MCHI property expo

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was an offer galore at the ongoing CREDAI-MCHI property exhibition at Bandra Kurla Complex. Developers appeared far more realistic in their sales pitches offering price discounts as high as 10 to 15 per cent.One developer was even offering 1BHK free on the purchase of a flat in one of his projects while others were offering a car or free stamp duty and registration. The four-day long exhibition began on Thursday and will conclude on Sunday.Shailesh Sanghiv of Sanghiv developers, who has projects in Dahisar and other parts of the town, had a fortune wheel placed at his stall offering car and 1BHK flat free along with the purchase of a 2 BHK flat or a 1 BHK flat.”The free flat is in Asangaon, and if the buyer doesn’t want the free house the price will be adjusted in his purchase in Mumbai. We want to sell flats and hence the offer,” said Sanghvi.Tejas Vyas, Chairman of CREDAI-MCHI’s exhibition committee said, “We had asked developers to give discounts and offers as they deem fit. Even big brands in the world sell their products at 50 per cent of total price during sale period. The property exhibition takes place only once a year so developers are offering heavy discounts and offers.”However, homebuyers claim that the prices are still very high and out of reach for many. “There are offers but developers have hiked the rate first then put a discount on it, which doesn’t make the offer exciting. I was expecting discounts but not much is being offered in real terms,” said Syed Noorudin, a homebuyer.

State sees drop in beef cases, CP credits Muslim community

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This year, Gujarat has witnessed a sharp drop in the number of beef cases that have reached the Directorate of Forensic Science (DFS) since 2012. While forensic experts believe the recent stringent law has played a role in reducing number of cases, Ahmedabad police commissioner feels that it is the community’s cooperation that has caused an impact.Until now, the DFS was busy investigating cases related to cow slaughter and beef ban, receiving over 200 cases yearly for three years till 2016. In 2017, though, the figure plunged to 73.HP Sanghvi, deputy director, Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Gandhinagar, said, “Due to the law, the cases that are sent by cops to FSL have drastically gone down. Unlike earlier times, we now receive only 1-2 calls in a month. This year, only 73 cases have come to us as against 205 from the year before.”As per the data shared by DFS, of the 128 and 220 cases in 2013 and 2014, respectively, 112 and 200 tested positive, as against 77 of 204 in 2015.DFS has four cow-meat testing vans in the state. After cops intercept a vehicle suspected to be carrying beef, they reach the spot for testing. It takes around half an hour to test the meat and furnish the report. Sometimes, though, depending on how the meat is extracted, investigation takes time.’Credit goes to community’Ahmedabad Commissioner of Police AK Singh said, “It is not just the law. A huge factor contributing to the reduced number of cases is the understanding that has evolved in the community itself, particularly the Muslim community, as they have come out openly against cow slaughter. During Bakri Eid, all mosques and religious leaders issued a directive saying that under no circumstances should anyone from the community be involved in cow slaughter. And this is a big reason why we are not getting too many cases.”He continued: “We do get cases of meat that is illegally transported but most of it was buffalo meat. There were quite a few of such cases intercepted by the police but these were away from the city. So we enforced the laws strictly, uncovered involvement of certain gangs and took preventive action. The organised illegal slaughter of buffalo has also seen a drop.”The top cop said better understanding of and more sensitivity towards the issue brought down the case.Talking about the gangs, he said: “It is not just in Ahmedabad that we found such gangs. We are aware of four such sites from where multiple cases originated, but we have dealt with them.” He added: “In Ahmedabad, we have more than 100 check-posts for anti-terror purpose and prevent any kind of illegally slaughtered meat.”The lawThe Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 2017, which encompasses slaughter of cow, calves, bulls and bullocks, penalises breaches with life imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh. It bans transportation of animals from one place to another at night. And prescribes imprisonment of up to 10 years, but not less then seven years, for those found to be involved in transportation, sale and storage of beef. Earlier, the maximum punishment was three years.Year Cases with DFS2012 1122013 1282014 2152015 2052016 2052017 73Total 938Beef inspection: Test resultYear No. of cases Tested positive2013 128 1122014 220 2002015 204 77Total 552 389

India Twitter users welcome ‘optional’ service charges at restaurants

Indians welcome a government announcement that service charges at restaurants are discretionary.

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