At least 14 dead and over 70 injured in billboard collapse in Mumbai

May 14, 2024 | 17:23:26

The billboard was put up without authorisation from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, reports said.

NEW DELHI: The massive hoarding that collapsed in India's Mumbai and killed at least 14 people was once recognised as India's largest billboard in Limca Book of Records, but did not have proper clearances, it has emerged.

The billboard was put up without authorisation from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), reports said. An FIR, or first information report, is being launched against Ego Media, the ad agency responsible for the hoarding. 

The agency had erected the hoarding on a plot leased to the Police Welfare Corporation by the Police Housing Division of the Maharashtra government. 

In the premises, four hoardings were set up by Ego Media, one of which collapsed on Monday evening (May 12). 

Even though Ego Media had taken permission for all four hoardings, which included the one that collapsed from the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Railways), the BMC had not given any authorisation or No Objection Certificate (NOC) before their installation. 

The BMC allows a maximum hoarding size of 40 x 40 square feet. The billboard which collapsed measured 120 x 120 square feet. 

Now, the BMC has issued notices to the Railway Police's ACP and the Railway Commissioner, seeking cancellation of all permissions granted by the Railways. 

BMC's Additional Commissioner Ashwini Joshi gave the order to remove the rest of the hoardings as per the Disaster Management Act. 

The Government Railway Police has accepted the order. The huge billboard, located opposite a fuel station in Mumbai's Ghatkopar area, crashed down with massive force amid a wild storm in the west Indian megapolis.

CCTV captured the structure crashing through the roofs of several cars before falling on the ground.

Two teams were dispatched by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to assist the Mumbai Fire Brigade and other agencies in the rescue operation.

"A total of 88 people were rescued, of whom 14 were declared dead by doctors and 31 were discharged," said NDRF assistant commandant Nikhil Mudholkar. 

"The problem is that we are unable to use our gasoline-based cutting equipment because there is a petrol pump here," he added.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde reached the accident site. He said the government will carry out a structural audit of all hoardings present in the city.  

"The hoardings, if found illegal and dangerous, would be removed immediately," Shinde said. 

"It is a very unfortunate incident. The government will probe it, and the people responsible will face action. I have also asked the BMC commissioner to conduct a structural audit of all the hoardings in the city. Those found illegal and dangerous will be removed," the chief minister added.

He announced an aid of Rs. 5 lakh for the families of those killed in the incident.