After 14 Deaths, BMC Acts Against Illegal Hoardings In Mumbai; MVA Blames MahaYuti For Tragedy - Eastern Mirror
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

After 14 deaths, BMC acts against illegal hoardings in Mumbai; MVA blames MahaYuti for tragedy

By IANS Updated: May 14, 2024 7:35 pm
Photo: IANS

MUMBAI — A day after a gigantic hoarding measuring 14,400 sq ft (120×120 feet) crashed in Mumbai, killing at least 14 persons and injuring around 88 more, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday initiated action against illegal hoardings that flout norms in different parts of the city, even as the Opposition blamed the state government for the tragedy.

The move follows a missive by the Mumbai Suburban District Disaster Management Authority (MSDDMA) late on Monday to wield the axe on all illegal hoardings, which violate various rules, including the crashed structure owned by EGO Media Co., an official said.

The Pant Nagar police station lodged a complaint against EGO Media proprietor Bhavesh Bhinde, invoking charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and launched a probe into the incident.

The tragedy proved an embarrassment for the ruling MahaYuti government, coming barely a week before the fifth and final phase of Lok Sabha elections in the state on May 20 in all the constituencies in Mumbai.

The Maha Vikas Aghadi-INDIA-Shiv Sena (UBT) candidate Sanjay Dina Patil cancelled all his election campaign programmes on Tuesday as a mark of respect for the victims who perished or were injured in the disaster.

AICC General Secretary Ramesh Chennithala, state Congress President Nana Patole, Leader of Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar, and other leaders visited the Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar where many of the injured are being treated.

“The BMC and the state government are directly responsible for this huge tragedy. The government has not conducted civic polls for two years, there are no people’s representatives as officials are taking all the decisions. The investigation will reveal the full details of the mishap,” said Chennithala.

The BJP, meanwhile, has alleged that Bhinde is reportedly linked with the opposition Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders after his photos with Uddhav Thackeray and other leaders went viral on social media.

Hitting back, the Mumbai Congress posted on X: “The Ajmera Group, inspired by Narendra Modi, erected Asia’s largest hoarding at Ghatkopar, which tragically collapsed yesterday, claiming the lives of 14 people & injuring 74 others. Despite its size, its illegal construction led to this devastating outcome.”

The other MVA allies — Shiv Sena (UBT) and Nationalist Congress Party (SP) — have also reacted sharply to the disaster and demanded a thorough probe into the incident.

The hoarding, weighing hundreds of kilos along with the supporting metal rods and girders, got uprooted in seconds in the squally winds, collapsed, and crushed several homes and a petrol pump in the Pant Nagar area of Ghatkopar East, killing 14, and injuring 88 others.

The BMC said there are a staggering 1,025 hoardings of various sizes dotting the city of which 573 are illuminated, 70 are LED lit, while 382 are non-illuminated.

Among the norms considered are: The Mumbai skyline, the location, height from the ground, other structures in the vicinity, the material it is made of etc. The permitted hoarding size is 40×40 feet (1,600 sq ft), an official explained.

As per some reports, EGO Media was earlier ‘blacklisted’ by the Central Railway (CR), and it is not clear how the firm was allowed to erect the mammoth hoarding – billed as the biggest in Asia – holding a Guinness World Record (2023) and commanding a huge hiring price from the advertisers.

The BMC said on Tuesday it has uprooted three illegal billboards in the vicinity of Monday’s tragedy site.

On Monday evening, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde visited the tragedy site and ordered the BMC and Mumbai Police to thoroughly investigate the incident, carry out a special audit of all illegal hoardings across the city, and take necessary remedial measures.

By IANS Updated: May 14, 2024 7:35:17 pm
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