Spot Check: Are the Narrow Lanes of Todi Mills Fire Compliant?

Is another Kamala Mills-like tragedy waiting to happen at Todi Mills? Its narrow lanes have Mumbaikars worried.

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After a massive fire at Mumbai’s Kamala Mills compound claimed 14 lives on 28 December, the BMC went into overdrive, demolishing illegal structures across Lower Parel. The civic body’s focus has been fixated on safety measures at the now defunct mills that have been converted into commercial hubs over the years. One such compound is Todi Mill. Located right opposite Kamala Mills, Todi too plays host to at least 15 restaurants and at least 100 offices.

According to fire safety norms, the entrance and exit to a mill compound must be at least 29 feet wide – but the entrance to Todi mill is barely 12 feet. With cars, tempos and trucks parked on either side of the road, the lane leading to it is barely 8 feet wide in practice. The narrow lanes constantly cause bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Inside Todi Mills, the entrance and exits are cramped most of the time and due to the taxis and Kaali Peelis, Olas and Ubers, there’s a lot of traffic when people come in to work and leave office. I personally don’t think that if there’s a fire, the fire truck will make it in.
Abhishek, Professional at OML 

To find out if the restaurants in Todi Mill compound are equipped with adequate fire safety measures, we paid a visit to Hoppipola, Social, Café Zoe and a children’s daycare centre. According to the fire safety guidelines, the restaurants are supposed to have at least two exits, four-foot-wide staircases and one fire extinguisher per a 1,000-sq-foot area.

While employees at Café Zoe and Social refused to speak on camera, they did say that they have complied with fire safety regulations. The manager at Todi Mill Social said that the restaurant has at least three exits and 14 fire extinguishers.

“All our employees are trained to use fire extinguishers. We have at least 10 fire extinguishers and ventilation throughout the restaurant,” said the manager at Hoppipola restaurant.

Klay daycare centre for children have a branch at Todi Mill and while they have taken all the precautions under the prescribed the fire safety norms, the narrow common entrance and exit passages of the mill are a cause of concern.

In our centre, we have two fire exits, one entrance and a broad exit and even the fire extinguishers and alarms are in place – but our concern is once we get out of the centre, how do we leave the compound? Todi Mill exit and Mathuradas Mill exit are both very narrow.
Sreeja Jaydeep, Centre Director, Klay Prep School 

“As parents, after the Kamala Mills incident, we are extremely worried about Todi Mills entry and exit points because everyday when I come to drop him, there are tempos on both sides of the lane. God forbid, if there is an emergency it would be very difficult to get out,” said Tanya, whose child has been going to Klay for about a week.

Editor: Veeru Mohan

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