After tragedy, BMC says it will act against all illegal hoardings in Mumbai

Mumbai, May 14 (PTI) A day after the collapse of an illegal hoarding claimed 14 lives in Ghatkopar, the Mumbai civic body on Tuesday said it would take action against all hoardings erected without its permission.

No action was taken in the past against the giant hoarding that crashed on a petrol pump in Chheda Nagar area on Monday evening as a dispute was going on between the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Government Railway Police (GRP), an official said.

The drive will start with the removal of the remaining three hoardings on the GRP land in Ghatkopar, said municipal commissioner Bhushan Gagrani on Tuesday after visiting the site where rescue operation is underway.

“Regarding this incident, a case has been registered. We have also directed all civic officials and assistant commissioners to remove such hoardings erected without our permission or which are dangerous in their respective wards immediately. In the next few days you will find this action completed,” he said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde also gave directives in this regard to the civic body, Gagrani added. The BMC does not have an elected body at present as civic elections are pending for more than two years.

Reiterating that the BMC had not given any permission for the hoarding that collapsed on Monday, Gagrani said it had been conducting correspondence (with the owner and concerned agencies) regarding it for the last two years, and also lodged a police complaint for the poisoning of trees on its periphery.

“A stand was taken that we (GRP) do not need permission (for a hoarding on railway land) under the Railway Act. The BMC’s response was that it was not legally correct. And hence, in the whole episode, so far there was no action,” the commissioner claimed.

An assistant police commissioner (admin) had given permission for the four hoardings on the GRP land (including the one that collapsed) on behalf of the commissioner of railway police, Mumbai, but no permission had been obtained from the BMC, a civic official had claimed earlier.

The death toll in the incident stands at 14 while the condition of two injured persons was critical, Gagrani said, adding that most of the injured are admitted to the Rajawadi hospital while those who require neurosurgery have been shifted to the KEM hospital. Both hospitals are run by the BMC.

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