Free Press Journal

A ‘Make in India’ recipe for disaster


Fire report states LPG cylinders were stacked under the stage at Chowpatty, Wizcraft blamed.

Mumbai: A detailed inquiry into the fire that took place at the much hyped ‘Make in India‘ event has accused the event manager, Wizcraft Entertainment Ltd, of willful negligence in stacking LPG cylinders under the stage, even though the Mumbai Fire Brigade had specifically asked them to desist from doing so.

The report states said that the tell-tale signs of the LPG faux pas   were found after the fire was doused on February 14: these included an LPG cylinder which had exploded and was found on the spot, one damaged and ruptured cylinder, and five filled cylinders. All these were impounded by the police and find a mention in the police panchnama.

The fire had broken out below the stage during the ‘Make in India’ event organized at Girgaum Chowpatty on the night of February 14. Several performers were present on the stage at that time and had to be evacuated by the administration.

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Though there were no injuries or loss of life, an estimated damage of Rs 5 crore is reported to have taken place. Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis had ordered an inquiry into the fire, and this report has been submitted to the state government.

The fact-finding report also stated that in their no objection certificate, the Fire Brigade had made it clear that no LPG cylinders were to be used, and yet the organizer company, Wizcraft, had used them. The report has concluded that the likely cause of fire was a defective electrical circuit which came in contact with the combustible materials under the stage — the obvious allusion being to the LPG cylinders stacked under the stage.

Interestingly, Wizcraft is one of the largest event management companies in India and has organized several showpieces for the corporate world. These include events like the opening and closing ceremonies of the 19the Commonwealth Games and the 50th year of Indian Independence Day celebrations.

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On their part, the organizers are reported to have explained to the Fire Brigade officials that they had stored the cylinders as they wanted to create a translucent image of Lord Ganesh on the stage by passing the gas through a tubular frame of the idol.

The report also states that the fire had spread rapidly due to use of highly combustible material like curtains, wooden planks and plastic sheets on the stage.  The 185-page report is now with the state government, which will take appropriate action after studying its contents, sources said.  However, government sources said that even the police department may have to take responsibility for the lapses, since they were overall in charge of the security of the event.