Activists say that the City Centre Mall was opened in 2010 without clearances.

Fire breaks out in City Centre Mall in Mangaluru
news Fire Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 13:19

A fire broke out in the City Centre Mall in Mangaluru at around 11:35 am on Thursday morning. Thick plumes of smoke were seen coming from one of the upper floors of the mall which prompted fire officials from nearby fire stations to reach the spot and extinguish the fire.  According to the Fire Department, no casualties have been reported. The fire has been put out, said officials. 

“We received a call around 11.40 am and 20 officials from Kadri and Pandeshwar stations with fire engines rushed to the spot. The fire had broken out in the food court, in one of the chimneys which had blockages due to carbon accumulation and oil. The fire was put out by the mall management but the smoke created panic. We took an hour to clear the smoke with the smoke exhauster and also created cross ventilation by breaking the glass windows. By 12.30 pm smoke was almost cleared,” T N Shivashankara, Chief Fire Officer (Mangalore).

The mall was opened in 2010 and has four floors. However, at the time of its inauguration, reports suggested that it had been opened without clearance, particularly an occupancy certificate (OC). An OC is issued only after a no-objection certificate (NOC) is furnished by the fire department.   

“The mall was opened without an occupancy certificate and for many years it has operated without an OC. We followed up with the then DC and ministers because this was a disaster waiting to happen,” said activist Vidya Dinker. She added that the multiplex on the fourth floor of the building received a fire department clearance, however, the building itself did not receive the required clearances. 

Responding to the question of whether the mall was opened without a no-objection certificate from the fire department, Shivashankara said, “I yet have to study the file. During my visit, I have found that all the necessary precautions to control fire as well as fire alarms, water system were present at the mall. However, I need to inspect the file to check in case there are violations and then decide on the action to be taken.”

The mall was built at a cost of Rs 115 crore and was opened to the public in an event attended by several politicians, reported The Hindu. The Citizens Forum for Mangaluru Development, an NGO based in Mangaluru, had also written to then Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar in 2012 pointing out the fact that the building was allowed to be opened despite lack of clearances and had also accused the district administration of "favouring, parroting and pushing through" the clearances for the building despite proof of the lack of safety of the building.

With inputs from StoryInfinity 

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