Un-authorised use of basement by 5-Star hotels in Mumbai; RTI response

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Mumbai: RTI application reveals that several 5 star hotels do not have a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to use basement for commercial purpose in Mumbai.

The RTI was filed on August 17, by Watchdog Foundation, a city based NGO, to check NOC given to the hotels, to use their basements for commercial purposes.

According to the reply given by the Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Mumbai Fire Brigade department, there has been no NOC given to any of the mentioned hotels till date.

The RTI requested to see the NOC documents of hotels like The Leela at Sahara, Hotel Lalit, Grand Maratha, Hotel Hyatt and Hotel Le Meridan. Not having NOC, the hotels run facilities such as spa, salon, business center, shops, wedding hall and other commercial activities at the basement of the hotels.

According to the rules, the basements should be used for parking slot, non-hazardous goods, store room, air conditioning equipment, electric substations and other machines used for services and utilities of the building.

The founder of Watchdog Foundation, Godfrey Pimenta, said, "The recommendations given by the committee formed after Kalbadevi fire incident are not followed by the BMC. Within few months there have been several major fire incidents in the city. But if the BMC and fire department fails to take action and neglect this kind of activities then who should be blamed? The Public Information Officer from fire department replied that they haven't given NOC to the 5 star hotels which we mentioned.”

Within a span of four months, a major fire incident happened in Kalbadevi, while another mishap happened on October 16, in a small restaurant named City Kinara, Kurla which had an illegal floor constructed only for the seating arrangement of the customers. After the incident the BMC has now started taking action against the restaurants with illegal extensions.

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