Fire tragedy at Kamala Mills, BMC action force New Year revellers to scout for new locations

Revellers are forced to cancel their plans to welcome New Year in their preferred Mumbai joints as the civic officials razed illegal structures in various restaurants.

Fire tragedy at Kamala Mills, BMC action force New Year revellers to scout for new locations

Mumbai: The Kamala Mills pub fire tragedy and subsequent crackdown on illegal structures of restaurants by the city civic body have limited the options for many revellers who will be ringing in New Year in neighbouring Navi Mumbai or Thane instead of their preferred joints in the city.

In the wake of the deadly fire on Friday night that killed 14 people in swish rooftop pub '1 Above' in Central Mumbai's Lower Parel, the celebrations to welcome 2018 are likely to be muted in parts of the Kamala Mills compound, the dining hub of the city.

Revellers are forced to cancel their plans to welcome New Year in their preferred Mumbai joints as the civic officials razed illegal structures in various restaurants yesterday, leaving event managers with little time to make fresh arrangements for customers.

The civic officials yesterday demolished illegal structures at 314 sites in Mumbai.

The BMC had also sealed seven hotels and seized around 417 LPG cylinders during the action.

While some revellers will be welcoming 2018 in restaurants in the famous hill station Lonavala some have decided to do so in Pune, nearly 150 kms away from the commercial capital.

Some party goers will be celebrating in Navi Mumbai, Thane, or at farm houses located near Mumbai.

Navi Mumbai-based event manager Satish Lokhande said he was flooded with calls from party-goers whose bookings in Mumbai got cancelled.

"I got some calls from friends and regular party goers asking suggestions for new locations around Mumbai. Many changed their bookings to Navi Mumbai, Thane and Lonaval-based restaurants because their earlier bookings in Mumbai hotels got cancelled," Lokhande said.

He said some pubs and bars mainly in western suburbs of Mumbai will receive a huge response from patrons as many restaurants and pubs may not remain open tonight due to the crackdown by the BMC.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which initiated the mega demolition drive two days back, has adopted a strict stand to not heed to requests by pubs and hotel owners to delay the action in view of New Year celebrations.

Santosh Shetty, president of Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association (AHAR) said they were expecting subdued celebrations this time.

"There are some 12,000 hotels in Mumbai of which around 8,000 are our members. We follow all the rules strictly but there are some black sheep in our industry. The two restaurants in Kamala Mills compound were not even our members," he said.

Shetty said they have appealed to people to pay tributes to the victims in the wake of the fire tragedy.

"We are not expecting too many people on the streets for celebration," he added.

Meanwhile, Lokhande said areas such as Khandala, Karjat and Nerul, located far away from Mumbai, have of late emerged as major weekend destinations.

"The facilities offered include farm-houses and resorts with large halls for such celebrations. A sizable number of party-goers organised parties in these areas in the last couple of days. The number of revellers in Mumbai could be less (this time) but many of them will be partying outside the city," Lokhande added.  

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