Railways refuse to remove oversized hoardings, ask CMO to talk to Railway Board | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Railways refuse to remove oversized hoardings, ask CMO to talk to Railway Board

May 30, 2024 08:35 AM IST

Railways refuse to remove oversized hoardings despite CM's orders. CR officials cite ongoing court case and policy matters. Inspection ordered by May 31

MUMBAI: Despite orders from the chief minister that all oversized hoardings must be removed, the Railways have declared that they will not bring down hoardings on their land. Central Railway (CR) officials on Wednesday stated that they had asked the Chief Minister’s Office to discuss the subject with the Railway Board in Delhi.

A massive hoarding in Bandra in railway jurisdiction. (Satish Bate/ Hindustan Times)
A massive hoarding in Bandra in railway jurisdiction. (Satish Bate/ Hindustan Times)

CR officials said the hoardings issue was sub-judice, as there was an ongoing case in the Supreme Court. “We have informed the government that we cannot take any decision at the zonal level, as this is a policy matter,” said a CR official. “The government needs to send a letter to the Railway Board.”

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The discussion on hoardings took place on May 28 during a meeting on monsoon preparedness in the city. CM Eknath Shinde mandated that all hoardings under the jurisdiction of MMRDA and on railway premises in Mumbai needed to obtain permission from the BMC and adhere to its norms.

Shinde instructed all illegal hoardings in the state to be removed and ordered criminal cases to be filed against those responsible for putting them up. This directive was issued in the wake of the hoarding collapse in Ghatkopar that claimed 17 lives and left more than 75 injured.

While BMC norms stipulate a maximum of 40×40 feet for hoardings, there are many that exceed this size on rail premises. Sources in CR said there were at least 12 locations on the main and harbour lines between the CSMT-Kasara/Karjat/Panvel corridors with such hoardings. They added, however, that the hoardings were structurally strong and were not going to be removed at the behest of the BMC.

“We have oversized hoardings on our premises but they are structurally safe,” said a CR official. “Still, we have ordered a reinspection of all hoardings, which was already part of our pre-monsoon prep. The inspection will be completed by May 31.”

Some locations like Sion, Tilak Nagar, Chunabhatti and Suman Nagar in Chembur have hoardings from 60x40 feet up to 100x40 feet. Rail officials said that if the structure was properly designed and constructed, there was no need for height restrictions. The railways have prepared a detailed note highlighting the safety protocols followed while erecting and maintaining their hoardings. There are 138 hoardings on CR installed in 99 locations. WR has 137 hoardings in Mumbai.

Authorities said that WR and CR had jointly established guidelines for hoardings in 2018 that complied with a 2017 Bombay high court order. These guidelines consider safety, geographical conditions, aesthetics, and minimal clutter when determining the placement of hoardings.

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