Mumbai: BJP MLA Shelar demands probe into Bandra slum fire

Mumbai: A massive fire broke out in a slum pocket in Bandra on Tuesday but a major tragedy was averted as the hutment dwellers escaped just in time. Ashish Shelar, member of legislative assembly (MLA) of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has expressed doubts over the reason for the fire and demanded a probe in the matter.

An incident of fire in the Nargis Dutt slums, opposite Bandra (W) railway station, was reported at 11.50am. According to an official of the disaster management cell of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), no loss of life was reported in the incident. However, two women reportedly fainted due to shock.

“The flames were doused by 3.45pm. No loss of life was reported in the incident while two women fainted due to mental shock,” the official said, adding that slum residents escaped just in time, averting a major tragedy. A total of 10 water tankers and 12 fire engines were pressed into service to douse the fire, he said, adding that fast blowing wind created hurdles for the firefighters.

“A joint team from the fire brigade, ward staffers and Mumbai Police were mobilised to douse the flames,” the disaster management cell said in a statement issued earlier in the day. Shelar has said he suspects that a cylinder blast could have triggered the blaze and has sought a probe into “repeated incidents” of fires in Bandra’s slum pockets. “I have demanded Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to look into the incident.

Why are the slums at Bandra targeted repeatedly,” asked Shelar, further adding he wanted action on illegal floors and constructions. A huge fire had broken out in the Behrampada-Garibnagar slum area near the eastern side of Bandra railway station in October last year, during a demolition drive carried out by the local civic body. Police had arrested a history-sheeter and his son for allegedly starting the fire.

The Nargis Dutt Nagar slums include approximately 1,408 shanties. The slum has grown in size over the years, with many one-plus-one structures being constructed without permissions.The plot belongs to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), while the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is the planning agency of the area.

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