In the last few years there have been several freak accidents in industries resulting in major fire. Yesterday’s fire at Turbhe raises several questions about the reasons and intentions for the sudden rise in number of such fire incidents. With urbanization in the city and proposed townships by reputed builder groups, the lure and greed for grabbing as much land as possible and changing the use of whatever already exists has become the trend of the day. For instance, what earlier were warehouse plots have been now allotted to private builders who are erecting malls and huge shopping complexes here. Likewise, the death of industries too is being eyed by the construction industry. There also talks that big industrial names have been taken over by construction big wigs and mafia. Experts say that there is more to the recent fire in industries than what meets the eye. The fire at the rubber industry at Turbhe yesterday is the fourth incident of major fire in recent times. A former officer who worked in one of the big industries on the Thane Belapur Belt alleges that the fire is purposely done to either claim insurance or sell off the land at a premium price to private builders. He says that in two decades that he worked in the belt, there were never cases of major fire despite most of the units being chemical industries, then how are such cases being reported so frequently now? It may be recalled that in recent times there were several major fires reported, which included the fire at Reliance Silicones, the fire at Kalamboli warehouse, fire at N D Exporters at Plot No A 800, MIDC and fire broke out at the go-down of Devnarayan Industries. Unless all the industries were grossly violating fire safety norms, the fire cases raise several questions of the intentions and reasons that remain unanswered. With authorities turning a blind eye to these questions and many industries forcefully or voluntarily pulling down shutters and shifting their base, a grave unemployment depression is bound to hit the city.
June 21, 2009