Asia

Tragedy Strikes Mumbai,14 Lives Lost in Horrific Hoarding Collapse.

A tragic incident unfolded in Mumbai as a towering 100-foot billboard, positioned across from a fuel station in the Ghatkopar area, collapsed during a fierce storm, claiming fourteen lives and injuring over 70 individuals. The intensity of the storm caused the massive structure to crash down onto the fuel station below, as captured by CCTV footage in the vicinity, showing the metal billboard wreaking havoc on several cars before hitting the ground.

Efforts for search and rescue are underway, with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) deploying two teams to aid in coordination with the Mumbai Fire Brigade and other relevant authorities. The billboard, erected by Ego Media on a plot leased to the Police Welfare Corporation by the Maharashtra government’s Police Housing Division, was one of four hoardings owned by Ego Media on the site. Mumbai Police have initiated legal proceedings against the owner of Ego Media and other involved parties.

Despite Ego Media obtaining permission for all four hoardings, including the collapsed one, from the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Railways), they failed to secure authorization or a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the BMC before installation. Consequently, the BMC has issued a notice to the Railway Police’s ACP and the Railway Commissioner, urging the revocation of all permissions granted by the Railways and the dismantling of the hoardings. Monday evening saw Mumbai engulfed by an abrupt and potent dust storm, plunging the city into darkness, with residents sharing accounts of the chaotic situation on social media.

The transportation network bore the brunt of the storm’s wrath, with local train and airport services coming to a standstill due to adverse weather conditions. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) was compelled to halt flight operations temporarily, citing poor visibility and strong winds as contributing factors.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued urgent warnings, predicting thunderstorms accompanied by lightning and heavy rainfall for Mumbai and its environs. While the unexpected rain provided some relief from the scorching heat, power outages in various districts, including Kalwa in Thane, added to the woes of residents already grappling with storm aftermath. Reports of uprooted trees and structural damage emerged from neighboring towns like Thane, Ambernath, Badlapur, Kalyan, and Ulhasnagar.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde visited the site of the incident and pledged a comprehensive structural assessment of all billboards in the city.

“If any hoardings are found to be illegal or unsafe, they will be promptly dismantled,” he assured. “This is a deeply regrettable event. Our government will investigate thoroughly, and those found responsible will face consequences. I have directed the BMC commissioner to conduct a thorough structural evaluation of all billboards in the city. Any found to be illegal or hazardous will be taken down.”

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