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May 19, 2024
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Mumbai Billboard Collapse Sparks Blame Game Between BMC, Railways Over Land Ownership


A billboard collapsed in Mumbai's Ghatkopar following a dust storm and heavy rain. (Image: PTI/ANI)

A billboard collapsed in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar following a dust storm and heavy rain. (Image: PTI/ANI)

The BMC said the land on which the accident took place does not belong to the civic body but to the railway police, and said it will file a complaint against the railways and advertising company under the Disaster Management Act

The billboard accident in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar, which left four dead and 64 injured amid heavy rain and dust storm, has set off a blame game between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the Indian Railways over land ownership. The civic body said the land on which the accident took place does not belong to it but to the railway police, and said it will file a complaint against the railways and advertising company in the matter under the Disaster Management Act.

Soon after this, the Central Railway denied ownership of the land and clarified that the billboard was not on railway land and has nothing to do with the Indian Railways. “This hoarding is not on Railway land and it is not in anyway related to Indian Railways,” (sic) it said in a post on X.

According to BMC sources, on December 7, 2021, the then GRP commissioner gave permission to set up these hoardings that are illegal. These hoardings were set up after poisoning and cutting seven to eight trees and the BMC had also filed the first FIR in this matter in May 2023, they added.

Sources said the BMC did repeated follow-ups with the Pant Nagar police station, where the FIR was registered, but to no avail. Providing documents in the matter, the civic body said the size allowed for such a structure is 40×40 sq ft, but the hoarding that collapsed is 120×120 sq ft. Now, the assistant commissioner of N ward has issued a notice to the agency to remove all its hoardings with immediate effect, and for not having valid permission from the BMC.

In its documents, the BMC has given the name and details of the advertising company that owned the billboard. This document shows that the land is “Collector Land and in possession of Police Housing Welfare Corporation of Government of Maharashtra”. The civic body said there are a total of four such structures on the site, including the collapsed hoarding. Permission to all these four structures was issued by “ACP (Admin) for Commissioner of Police (Railways Mumbai)”, it added.

The BMC further said it had not been approached for any kind of permission or no-objection certificate, which must be obtained before erecting a structure like this. A notice was also issued to the approving authority in the railway police to cancel all permissions and remove the hoardings on May 2, it added.

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