Architects and Town Planners Need to Break the Silence: Kamala Mills Fire

Written by Vidyadhar Date | Published on: December 30, 2017
Mr Shirish Patel,  a well-known figure in urban planning, made an interesting suggestion  at a  citizens’ meeting earlier this year that  we should engage with politicians and  bring issues to their attention. 
 

Image: Indian Express

It  seemed to be fair enough.
 
Unfortunately,   politicians  do  know the issues but  not all  want to act on them.
 
An activist had brought the violations  involved  in  the Kamala Mill  fire to the attention of the BMC and yet it did not act . This also takes care of a point made by Shekhar Krishnan, research scholar , to me that I should follow up  my comments on civic issues  with the BMC.
 
At official press conferences the general experience is that if a journalist  raises an issue,   the response is that if the  journalist has a personal issue, it would be attended to soon , don’t   bother about public issues. We know what is happening and . What is your problem  ?  And so on.  It is not always like that.  Some times the authorities  are certainly serious.  At  public  interactions, the politician usually  issues a directive  -  give only concrete suggestions, meaning don’t   make complaints. So  the point is the authorities are  simply not interested in getting to know the truth.
 
Mr Patel made the suggestion at a meeting convened by the Mumbai Vikas Samiti in Dadar in  which the chief of the BMC’s   disaster management cell , Mr Narvekar,  spoke very confidently about the preparedness of  the civic body. 
 
The trouble is the class character of  most prominent   politicians has changed over the years.They are now  in  the same hedonist, luxury-loving   class  as the people they should be asking questions.  The central  minister Babul Surpriyo    said  on TV  that he went through the list of the Kamala Mill fire victims to check if  there was anyone he knew. And the  articulate Mr Aditya Thackeray  said he  might as well have  been at the   restaurant  at Kamala mill   which underscores  his life style.  By the way, he has a bigger task ahead of him now since he is the  main spirit behind  the  civic decision to  let people   enjoy night life and shopping and eating out by extending their hours  This means people are actually going to be more vulnerable if   corrective steps are not taken.
 
If only our  architects, civil engineers,  food writers  speak out on such issues,  things will be better. I have so far noticed only one  intervention from the  gourmet class on the  Kamala mill restaurant.  Kunal Vijaykar mentioned  that there are so many  other such sites  including Todi mill compound.