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Ghatkopar hoarding collapse: 15 of 45 illegal hoardings erected by Ego Media

Updated on: 20 May,2024 07:00 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Prajakta Kasale , Apoorva Agashe |

BMC tells rail and police officials it is mandatory to take its permission for hoardings even if it is on their land

Ghatkopar hoarding collapse: 15 of 45 illegal hoardings erected by Ego Media

Massive hoardings along Tilak Bridge in Dadar. Pic/Ashish Raje

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Ghatkopar hoarding collapse: 15 of 45 illegal hoardings erected by Ego Media

Out of 45 oversized hoardings on railway land that received BMC notices to be removed immediately, seven are on Tilak Bridge in Dadar East—the main railway station. The advertising rights holder for all seven hoardings at Dadar is Ego Media, the same company that has rights to the illegal oversized hoardings in Ghatkopar, including the one that fell. The seven oversized hoardings on Tilak Bridge vary in size from 30x80 ft to 80x100 ft. Meanwhile, there are eight such hoardings in Ghatkopar, six at Tilak Nagar station and five at Suman Nagar in Chembur.

Of the 45 illegal hoardings, 15 were erected by Ego Media. Company director Bhavesh Bhinde has been arrested. In a meeting with rail and police authorities on Thursday, the BMC chief and administrator Bhushan Gagrani asserted that a corporation’s permission is necessary for any hoardings on the land of any agencies even if the authorities are following their own SOPs for the installation of hoardings. He asked that all the 45 oversized hoardings be removed immediately. The BMC has issued notices to the Railways under the Disaster Management Act.

Gagarani said that although the accident site in Ghatkopar is not under the jurisdiction of the Central or Western Railways, both these railway administrations have large billboards, which needs to be reviewed. Although the railways or any other government authority has the authority to decide what action to take in the area under their jurisdiction, the authority of the municipal corporation cannot be overlooked in matters related to civil services.

“In the case of advertisement boards, it is also mentioned in the court order that it is mandatory to follow all the standards set by the municipal corporation. Along with that, the permission of the traffic police is also required. Even if the respective government authorities prepare their own standardised procedures, it is mandatory to follow the standards set by the municipal corporation. Also, as a disaster management authority, the municipal corporation will not hesitate to implement the disaster management act even in the case of hoardings,” he said.

Meanwhile, the District Disaster Management Authority (Mumbai city) has sent a notice to the police commissioner (railway) to remove oversized illegal hoardings (more than 40ft x 40ft) which are on the Government Railway Police (GRP) land.

“Considering the coastal location and expected wind speed, the size of the hoardings needs to be regulated. It is noticed that there are eight other oversized hoardings erected on GRP land within the jurisdiction of railways, which are erected not in consonance with the policy of BMC,” said a civic official.

The death toll in the Ghatkopar hoarding collapse incident reached 16 after two bodies were found in a car on Wednesday. BMC officials claimed that the hoarding which was on railway land was 120x120 ft, more than a prescribed size of 40x20 ft, and the railway authorities didn’t remove it despite various letters and notices issued to them citing the billboard was on their premises.

Illuminated hoardings

Joint Commissioner of Police (traffic) Anil Kumbhare said that along with traditional billboards, digital billboards also need to be considered in terms of civil safety as the speed of conversion of traditional billboards to digital billboards is increasing. “Complaints are received that such digital billboards occasionally cause distraction to motorists and citizens, especially in the evening and at night. Therefore, it is expected that the advertisement policy should be considered accordingly,” he said, adding that the traffic police will not allow new billboards until a comprehensive policy is in place.

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