Pune Cantonment To Make Fire NOC Compulsory For All Establishments, Shops; PCB Report Says Over 600 Stalls Destroyed In Fashion Street Blaze 

Pune fashion street blaze
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Mubarak Ansari

Camp, 27 March 2021: More than 600 stalls have been destroyed in the fire incident at Fashion Street in Pune Camp on Friday night, states a report by the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB).

PCB CEO Amit Kumar said, “The cause of the fire incident is not yet clear. The cantonment will approach the district administration to release compensation from the disaster relief fund.”

According to PCB, a major fire engulfed the Fashion Street Market in the Pune Cantonment area late on Friday night (26.3.2021). About 18 Fire Brigade vehicles from Pune Cantonment, Pune Corporation, PCMC, AFMC and Supply Depot reached the spot to extinguish the fire. Two Quick Response team was also additionally deployed at the site. After rigorous firefighting operation, the situation was taken under control around 2 am on Saturday (27.3.2021). More than 600 stalls have been destroyed in the fire incident.

The report states, “There is no Cantonment Electricity connection. All stall holders have obtained electricity connection from MSEDCL. Cantonment has only provided Street Lighting in the parking area. Some of Stall holders have taken electricity connection through one common connection of MSEDCL and others have taken individual connections. The Pune Cantonment Board has not issued any No Objection Certificate (NOC) for obtaining electricity connection for MSEDCL.

In view of the fire outbreak at Chhatrapati Shivaji Market recently the issue of compulsory fire audit of various establishments within the Cantonment limit is under consideration of the Board. as agenda for the ensuing meeting to be held on 30 03.2021 is proposed that Fire NoC be made mandatory for all factories, coaching institutes, schools, establishments within the Pune Cantonment limits be required to carry out fire audit through authorized licensing agencies and to submit the fire audit report to the Cantonment Board after compliance of the various observation raised by the fire audit authorities for issue of Fire NoC by Cantonment Board. This action has to be initiated considering the safety of the general public and congested areas as well the workers working in the various establishments and to avoid any untoward incident.

After the Chhatrapati Shivaji Market fire outbreak, the office of PCB requested M/s Fire QI, Licensing agency of Directorate of Fire Department, Government of Maharashtra for carrying out Fire & Safety Audit and third party inspection of Fashion Street Market along with Chhatrapati Shivaji Market site. The report is awaited.”

PCB CEO Amit Kumar further added, “The matter of Fashion Street would be placed before the Board for further necessary action. The District administration would be requested to release compensation out of the Disaster Relief Fund.”

History of Fashion Street

Some hawkers were illegally occupying the footpath space or plying handcarts on Mahatma Gandhi (MG) Road for selling their wares. Steps were taken to evict them from MG Road on which these hawkers approached the Civil Court and filed a petition bearing No. 988/90 against the eviction order of the Pune Cantonment Board in 1990.

In this particular case, a compromise was reached between the Union of MG Road Hawkers and the Pune Cantonment Board and accordingly the terms and conditions were finalized and order in pursuance to the compromise decree was passed by the Civil Court to rehabilitate these hawkers and to give the hawkers open space for carrying out their trade at Survey No. 390/2501 East Street (now called as Fashion Street Market) by allotting them open spaces (called ottas) for carrying out their trade from 9 am to 9 pm and that these hawkers would pay Rs 5 per day as Ground Rent Charges to the Board. Accordingly, 448 open spaces (ottas) each of size 4’x 5’ were constructed and allocated. Further 121 hawkers were temporarily accommodated and this allotment was for a period of 11 months from 20-05-2008.

The Board vide CBR No. 59 dated 17-01-2018 has considered the general discussion in detail. The revenue and engineering branch officials intimated to the Board that there are only 569 authorized stalls in the Fashion Street Market whereas, approx. 63 Nos of stalls have been raised illegally during years and that is to in a hazardous manner which may cause any fatal incidence. The Board found that keeping in view the recent fire incidence that happened in different cities of the country it is required to put up Fire Safety Assessment/ Fire Safety Audit of the Fashion Street Market within 07 days by the Fire Brigade Supdt and thereafter appropriate action will be taken accordingly.

The Board vide CBR No.17 dated 05-02-2018 considered and discussed the agenda in detail in the light of the Fire Audit Report and acute apprehension of so many untoward incidents. The President Cantonment Board informed the outcome of the meeting of the PCB, VP and CEO held on 03-02-2018 with the representatives of the stalls holders of the Fashion Street Market. After deliberate discussion, the Board resolved to issue notice to all such stall holders, who have converted the allotted otta into stalls illegally and if they do not convert their illegal stalls into ottas as per allotment and Court Decree dated 08-07-1997 within 7 days appropriate action will be taken to convert it into the otta in the larger public interest.

Further, the Board also resolved not to collect Rs 5 per otta as fixed by the Board vide CBR No.5 dated 29-09-1997 because all ottas have been converted into illegal stalls during the years. The Board also resolved that if illegal stalls will not be converted into authorized otta, the Board may consider the issue of declaring the Fashion Street market illegal and hazardous market in the next Board. Accordingly, no amount is being collected by the Board.

Thereafter the issue was discussed in the Board and Board resolved to approach the District Court with the request to set aside the compromise decree. The matter is still sub judice Thereafter the market was closed due to the COVID situation for 8 to 9 months and was finally allowed to operate on repeated request of the Fashion Street Market Association. Thereafter the Board has discussed the issue in the meeting in view of the provision of the Street Vendors Protection Act 2014 and as per the provision of the act, the Constitution of the Town Vending Committee (TVC) was considered by the Board and it resolved the pending constitution of the TVC the Committee of Elected members will function as TVC. It was further decided that the issue of Fashion Street be examined by the Civil Area Committee. However subsequently after the completion of the tenure, the Board was dissolved on 10 Feb 2021.