Ghatkopar Hoarding Collapse: BMC Imposes Ban On Permission To New Banners In City After Mishap That Claimed 16 Lives

Mumbai: After the tragic incident of a hoarding collapse in Ghatkopar that took the toll of 16 helpless Mumbaikars, the BMC took the decision that no new hoardings will be permitted currently in the city. The municipal commissioner Bhushan Gagrani also said that it is mandatory to follow the standards set by the BMC, as well as the traffic police to put up hoardings on public or private land in Mumbai. Action will be initiated under the Disaster Management Act 2005 if the authorities fail to comply with the norms, he warned in a joint meeting held in the BMC headquarters on Thursday evening.

Urgent Meeting Convened On The Issue

An urgent meeting called by the municipal commissioner was attended by additional municipal commissioner Ashiwini Joshi, Joint police commissioner (traffic) Anil Kumbhare, deputy municipal commissioner Kiran Dighavkar and Minish Pimple, Western railways (commercial manager) Vineet Abhishek, officials the central railway and the experts of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT), Prof. Nagendra Rao Velaga, Prof. ShriKumar and License Superintendent Anil Kate. The BMC has prepared a list of 45 hoardings above the permissible limit (40 * 40 ft.) on the railway land. Gagrani categorically directed the officials of the railways and other government agencies to remove the hoardings above the permissible limit or face action.

“Although the railways or any other government authority has the authority to decide what action to take in the area under their jurisdiction, the authority of the Municipal Corporation cannot be overlooked in matters related to civil service facilities. It is mandatory to follow the standards set up by the BMC. It is imperative for civil safety to include aspects like size of billboards, structural stability in standardized procedures or policies. Similarly, everyone should note that it helps the government agencies to supervise and prevent accidents,” said Gagrani. Ashwini Joshi, additional municipal commissioner said, “A notice has been sent to the Central and the Western Railways to remove the oversize hoardings immediately.” 

Kumbhare, joint police commissioner (traffic) said,”Digital billboards are increasing in the city. However, complaints are received that such digital billboards occasionally cause distraction to motorists and citizens, especially in the evening and at night. Therefore, it is expected that the advertising policy should be considered accordingly. Even the traffic police will not allow new billboards until a comprehensive policy is in place.”

Kiran Dighavkar, deputy municipal commissioner (special) made a detailed presentation regarding hoarding policy and important provisions. He also gave information about various decisions passed by BMC, the state government and the court. He said that, “To effectively formulate a policy on outdoor advertising and oversee the transition to digital hoarding, BMC is in the process of establishing a committee under the chairmanship of an additional municipal commissioner (city). The other members of the committee include the joint commissioner of police (traffic), BMC’s deputy municipal commissioner (special) and superintendent of license, an expert from a reputable environmental institute, two members appointed by IIT-Bombay with relevant experience and one member from the department of industrial design, IIT -Bombay. The committee will study thoroughly and submit the report.

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