Mumbai: Illegal Hoarding Collapse Claims 16 Lives, Questions Raised Over Permissions

Mumbai, 15th May 2024: Following the tragic incident in the Ghatkopar area of Mumbai, the recovery of two additional bodies from the debris on Wednesday brought the total death toll to 14. Earlier, rescue teams had retrieved 14 bodies from the site of the hoarding collapse, with 75 individuals sustaining injuries, according to officials.

During the search and rescue operation on Wednesday morning, a minor fire broke out at the scene in Ghatkopar. However, swift action by deployed fire tenders promptly extinguished the flames, as confirmed by an NDRF official. Despite the passage of 40 hours since the incident occurred, search and rescue efforts persisted.

Illegal Hoarding
Civic officials have stated that the hoarding in question was erected illegally and toppled onto a petrol pump at Cheddanagar Junction in Ghatkopar amidst strong winds and rain. Although the Assistant Police Commissioner (Admin) had reportedly granted permission for four hoardings, including the one that collapsed, on behalf of the Commissioner of Railway Police, Mumbai, no official permission or NOC was obtained from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Statement from Mumbai Railway Police
In response to the incident, the Mumbai Railway Police issued a statement indicating that the hoarding was erected following permission granted by the GRP in December 2021. However, the incident occurred before any action could be taken against the illegal hoarding measuring 120×120 feet. The statement further clarified that permission for installing the hoarding on railway police land at the petrol pump in Ghatkopar was granted to Ego Media Private Ltd (Bhavesh Bhide) by then-GRP Commissioner Qaiser Khalid in December 2021.

Additionally, the GRP acknowledged that upon receiving a complaint from the BMC, they commenced an investigation by issuing a notice to Ego Media Private Ltd. However, before the investigative process could be concluded, the unfortunate incident occurred.