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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Ghatkopar hoarding collapse Local corporator flagged illegal hoarding in Feb Mar and Aug 2023

Ghatkopar hoarding collapse: Local corporator flagged illegal hoarding in Feb, Mar and Aug 2023

Updated on: 10 June,2024 06:45 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faizan Khan |

Former representative from Ghatkopar Rupali Awale’s statement lays threadbare the systemic negligence behind the tragic hoarding collapse that killed 17 people

Ghatkopar hoarding collapse: Local corporator flagged illegal hoarding in Feb, Mar and Aug 2023

The hoarding that collapsed was 120x120 sq ft. File pic

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Ghatkopar hoarding collapse: Local corporator flagged illegal hoarding in Feb, Mar and Aug 2023

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Crime Branch has recorded a crucial statement from former Ghatkopar corporator Rupali Awale in connection with the hoarding collapse case. Awale stated that she had made multiple complaints to the BMC and the government over the past year about the illegal hoarding that collapsed on May 13, killing 17 people. Despite her complaints, no action was taken.

Awale also highlighted in her complaints that the GRP had illegally granted permission to Ego Media, despite knowing that the land belonged to the state government and that the BMC is the licensing authority. She noted that BMC officials also failed to take any action.

Vehicles that were crushed under the billboard. File pic/Rajesh GuptaVehicles that were crushed under the billboard. File pic/Rajesh Gupta

The SIT, which intensified its probe after the arrest of two more suspects, is now focusing on government officials to determine their accountability in the case. The complaints made by Awale clearly highlight that she had been raising concerns for the past year. She specifically warned that the Ghatkopar hoardings were dangerous and could endanger lives. Awale pointed out that the location belonged to the state government and that the hoardings placed by Central Railway were illegal, with BMC officials incorrectly claiming the land belonged to the railways. Her complaints were directed to officers of the N ward, the assistant commissioner, the deputy commissioner, the BMC commissioner, DCP Zone 06, and the offices of the chief minister and the home minister, in February, March, and August last year. None of these offices took any action.

In one of the letters marked to senior officials and the office of the chief minister, Awale stated, “Six illegal billboards, measuring 80ft by 80ft and 70ft by 70ft, have been constructed at various locations in the bumper zone area of my Division No. 125. According to my complaint letter to the N ward department of MCGM, they replied that the area is under Central Railway jurisdiction. However, this location actually falls under the Revenue Department and has been allocated for the Maharashtra Mumbai Police Department for their use.”

“Wrong information was provided to us by the License and Legal Department officers, stealing MCGM revenue regarding these six different locations with illegal billboards. Statements or opinions claiming this land belongs to the Department of Railways are baseless and false; the land actually belongs to the Maharashtra State under the Revenue Department,” the complaint further reads.

According to the SIT, the complaints made by the former corporator clearly highlight grave negligence by the officers concerned. “We have recorded Awale’s statement and collected all the complaints she made along with the responses she received. Her statement is crucial to establishing the accountability of the officers concerned,” said an officer from the crime branch.

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