Despite BMC notice, 29 oversized billboards still stand in Mumbai | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Despite BMC notice, 29 oversized billboards still stand in Mumbai

May 29, 2024 08:52 AM IST

Among these are two giant billboards, one measuring 120x120 feet in Bandra East and another 100 x 30 feet on Charni Road

MUMBAI: On May 13, two 120ft x 120ft back-to-back billboards collapsed in Ghatkopar’s Pant Nagar, killing 17 people and injuring 75 due to the alleged negligence of Ego Media Pvt Ltd. Despite this tragedy, 29 similar oversized billboards without BMC permits remain, posing a continued threat to human lives in the city.

Mumbai, India – May 28, 2024: A Hoarding at Charni Road (W), in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India – May 28, 2024: A Hoarding at Charni Road (W), in Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/HT Photo)

Of the 45 oversized billboards that received removal notices from the BMC under the Disaster Management Act (2005) on May 16, 29 have still not been removed by either the railways or the relevant advertising agencies. Among these are two giant billboards, one measuring 120x120 feet in Bandra East and another 100 x 30 feet on Charni Road, which are many times the BMC’s permissible limit of 40x40 feet.

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A senior civic official from the BMC’s licenses department told HT that the oversized hoardings were on railway premises and Government Railway Police (GRP) land, which is owned by the state government. “Of the 45, apart from the two that crashed on May 13, there were three back-to-back hoarding structures of 80x80 feet which we removed,” he said. “So, the BMC removed six hoardings in all from Ghatkopar. Likewise, eight more were removed from Dadar’s Tilak Bridge.”

The BMC had issued a notice to Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) on May 16, directing them to remove all oversized hoardings within three days. These hoardings are located on GRP premises adjoining BMC roads.

The official added that WR had the maximum number of oversized hoardings in Mahalaxmi, Bandra and Khar. “We had issued notices through the wards to take them down,” he said. “But neither the railways nor the agencies have responded.”

A few days ago, a railway official had argued that there was no need to remove the hoardings, stating that they underwent several rounds of checks before they were approved. “Their designs and drawings are also vetted by top engineering institutes like the IITs and VJTI,” he said. “We are a central body, and we follow our own set of rules and regulations.”

The BMC is now in the process of formulating new guidelines on hoarding policy which will be issued after the election code of conduct is revoked. “In the wake of the Ghatkopar hoarding collapse, it will be made mandatory for all agencies to include a structural stability audit report of hoardings to the BMC,” said a civic official from the licence department. “It will be a complete overhaul and a new hoarding policy for Mumbai. Incidentally, it is likely to be made mandatory for the railways to seek permission for hoardings from the BMC.”

HT contacted both Roshan Space and Pioneer Publicity, which have the largest number of hoardings, but they did not revert or issue any official statement.

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