Manish market back on its feet
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A year after a devastating blaze engulfed the famous Manish market in south Mumbai, fire-fighting equipment is in place and business almost back to normal.
Early morning on November 26 last year, a fire believed to have originated in the neighbouring Sara Sahara market quickly spread to Manish market and other areas gutting around 2,000 shops and causing a loss of around Rs 200 crore.
Of the 166 shops, Haroon Merchant, secretary of Nutan Pushpak Premises Cooperative Society that runs Manish market, said 40 per cent caught fire. However, the whole market had to be rebuilt because the smoke and soot blackened other shops and melted wares. "We lost everything. In a way, it was a blessing in disguise because we finally got a chance to repair the market built in 1974," he said. It took seven-and-a-half months to rebuild the electronic consumer goods and cosmetics market spread over 40,000 square feet.
The structure was strengthened by repairing up to 300 columns, carrying out a load test, interior repairs, POP and paint work.
"We have strengthened the columns in such a way the structure will have no problems for the next 60 years. The society charged shop-keepers Rs 1,000 per square feet depending on shop area.
"The market structure had an insurance of around Rs 2 crore but the money was not paid," Merchant complained.
The most important aspect was installing fire-safety equipment. Before the fire, the market, a BMC leased property, had no safety mechanism.
The ground-plus-two structure with a basement and a mosque on terrace has now addressed this issue.
"When the market approached us for an NOC, we specified requirements such as sprinklers, hoses on each floor, extinguishers and a smoke detection system. After they put the measures in place, we visited the premises and found the requirements had been met. NOC was given in May 2012," said a high-ranking fire official. Additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said, "BMC is ensuring regular fire audits in the market area."
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