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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Mumbai dust storm A scary trailer of coming horror show

Mumbai dust storm: A scary trailer of coming horror show

Updated on: 14 May,2024 06:45 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Team mid-day |

DGP of Maharashtra GRP says inquiry will be initiated to determine legality of hoarding

Mumbai dust storm: A scary trailer of coming horror show

A hoarding collapsed on a petrol station in Ghatkopar East during Monday’s thunderstorm. Pic/Sameer Markande

Key Highlights

  1. In just 60 minutes of unexpected rain and a dust storm that hit the city on Monday
  2. Eight people were left dead and 74 were injured after a illegal hoarding collapsed
  3. In Wadala, two persons were injured after a scaffolding came tumbling down

In just 60 minutes of unexpected rain and a dust storm that hit the city on Monday, eight people were left dead and 74 were injured after a 120-by-120-foot illegal hoarding collapsed on a petrol pump on the Eastern Express Highway at Ramabai Nagar in Ghatkopar. Operations to rescue about 100 people trapped beneath debris were ongoing at press time. In Wadala, two persons were injured after a scaffolding came tumbling down and rail, Metro and air services were disrupted, prompting politicians to cancel rallies.


A hawker, who was injured in a tree fall at Kapad Bazar, Mahim, rescued by the fire brigade. Pic/Ashish Raje
A hawker, who was injured in a tree fall at Kapad Bazar, Mahim, rescued by the fire brigade. Pic/Ashish Raje


Eight died and 74 were injured after a 120-by-120-foot illegal hoarding collapsed on a petrol pump on the Eastern Express Highway at Ramabai Nagar in Ghatkopar around 4.15 pm on Monday while the city witnessed sudden showers and a dust storm. Operations to rescue about 100 people trapped beneath debris were ongoing at press time. The incident spurred the BMC into fining the agency concerned R6.13 crore and seeking the removal of seven other illegal billboards in the N ward.


Chief Minister Eknath Shinde visited the spot around 8 pm. Addressing the media, he said, “A case of culpable homicide will be registered against the persons responsible for the tragedy. Besides, I have instructed BMC to do a special audit of all hoardings and remove all the illegal ones immediately.” He added that rescue operations were going on and the families of the deceased would receive Rs 5 lakh each from the chief minister’s relief fund. All the injured persons will receive free treatment.

Traumatic incident

The petrol pump usually caters to auto-rickshaw drivers. At the time of the collapse, there was a long line of vehicles was present at the site. Though passers-by rushed to the spot to rescue those trapped under the iron structure, the task proved Herculean. The Mumbai Fire Brigade reached the spot around half an hour after the collapse and declared it a level III incident at 6.30 pm. The rescue operation involved 12 fire engines and a van. The injured were sent to Rajawadi Hospital and Jogeshwari trauma centre.

Faran Khan, 25, a survivor, said, “I had taken shelter in the petrol pump as it was raining. We were not even aware that such a thing could happen. Luckily, I did not get trapped like others. This is a major failure on the part of the civic body, which is supposed to prevent dangerous structures from harming citizens.” Shehnawaz Khan, 18, who sustained minor injuries, said, “The sudden shower prompted me to take shelter at the petrol pump. After observing the hoarding tilting in my direction, I ran for it. Many, unfortunately, could not escape in the nick of time.”

Tejas Sale, 30, a driver, said, “I live five minutes away from the pump and had stopped to fill up on petrol. As soon as I reached home, there was a loud noise and soon there was news flashing on TV.” He said the rain had just started and two-wheeler drivers had taken shelter near the petrol pump. Salim Pathan, an RTI activist, said he had complained to the BMC and railway police a year ago about the potential tragedy due to the hoarding. “There was no response from the railway police. The BMC forwarded it to railway police and still there was no reply,” he said.

Rescuers at the petrol pump at Ramabai Nagar in Ghatkopar East where the gigantic hoarding collapsed, trapping scores of people, on Monday. Pics/Sameer Markande
Rescuers at the petrol pump at Ramabai Nagar in Ghatkopar East where the gigantic hoarding collapsed, trapping scores of people, on Monday. Pics/Sameer Markande

‘No clarity’

A person at the Jogeshwari trauma centre said, “It is very chaotic here. I was unable to find my brother, who was at the petrol pump. I don’t know whether he’s still under the hoarding. We are not even being updated about the names of the rescued individuals. How are we supposed to know if someone is brought here or taken to some other hospital? My brother is the sole breadwinner of the family."

Another relative stated, “I am devastated. I’m not sure if the hoarding was illegal but the civic body should do a pre-monsoon survey to identify risky hoardings. If this is the situation now, how can we trust the civic body to ensure that our monsoons will be hassle-free? Hoardings should be surveyed like old buildings are.” “If the hoarding was illegal and the BMC knew about it, why was no action taken to remove it? Were they waiting for such an incident to happen?” the relative added. According to a tender issued, the land where the hoarding was erected belongs to the Government Railway Police (GRP).

The scaffolding that collapsed at 4 pm at Barkat Ali Naka in Wadala East, on Monday. Pic/Shadab Khan
The scaffolding that collapsed at 4 pm at Barkat Ali Naka in Wadala East, on Monday. Pic/Shadab Khan

mid-day called Ravindra Sishve, commissioner of police, GRP, to confirm whether the hoarding was illegal. He replied, “The tender is an old one and if the hoarding is erected, it will be legal according to the tender. I am not exactly sure of its legality. I am at the spot.” Pradnya Saravade, DGP, Maharashtra GRP, confirmed that the land belongs to GRP. She stated, “We will be initiating an inquiry soon to determine the legality of the hoarding. Meanwhile, our efforts right now are to remove as many individuals trapped under the hoarding to minimise casualties. We will be soon initiating the inquiry.”

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