While the state legislature might clear the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act 2006 soon, the basic safety norms are openly being violated in the city. Several Navi Mumbaikars who visit Center One Mall voice their concern over open violation of safety norms at the mall. Chances of a big disaster cannot be ruled out. If the state passes the Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act 2006 then very soon builders will also have to ensure that high-rises have basic fire safety equipment – from fire extinguisher to an electronic fire alarm system. Taking a cue from the from the 2004 Kumbhakonam School tragedy in Tamil Nadu that killed 60 children, the state has drafted an Act that makes fire safety measures mandatory and legally enforceable. Non-compliance with fire prevention measures under this Act can even result in a jail sentence up to three years and a fine up to Rs 50,000. In Navi Mumbai despite several high-rises, many of them have been built with scant respect to fire safety. While there is little check on these by authorities, the most concerning area is Center One Mall at Vashi. Being the city only mall, the mall witnesses crowd everyday and weekends’ rush can be easily compared to a local train at rush hour time. Hundreds are hanging out at the mall. This should be reason enough to ensure that safety measures are put into practice but that apparently is not happening. The mall owners have allegedly sold out the fire exit on all the floors as is clearly evident in these visuals. The mall’s administration bans any kind of video shooting except for certain promotional events when Navi Mumbai News captured the blatant violation in its camera lenses. In case of disasters like fire, lifts are closed. Hence the magnitude of the disaster can be massive with the exits having little place for the crowd to rush out. When Navi Mumbai News tried to contact the public relation officer of Center One Mall to know about the alleged open violation of safety norms at their premises, he said that he was extremely busy to comment on this irrelevant issue.
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