Editorial: Where Does The Buck Stop On Hoarding Dangers?

Editorial: Where Does The Buck Stop On Hoarding Dangers?

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Friday, May 17, 2024, 09:27 PM IST
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The FPJ Campaign Against Illegal Hoardings In The City |

Every day of this week after the horrible tragedy on Monday when an oversized and illegal hoarding collapsed in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar area, killing 16 people and injuring at least 75, the blame game has been played by every agency involved. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which has the last word on hoardings across the city and whose mandate of maximum 40x40 square feet was clearly violated by this hoarding that was at least thrice as big, has bent over backwards to show that it was not at fault. It released letters sent to other authorities including the railways, on whose land the hoarding was erected in April 2022, to shirk its responsibility. This only succeeded in showing that the BMC was well aware of the hoarding’s illegality, but chose to push letters rather than take action to bring it down and penalise those concerned.

The Railways have acted with a shocking tone deafness callously refusing to comply with the BMC’s directive to remove oversized hoardings on their premises on the grounds that they have “a stringent mechanism in place to ensure the safety of these structures before and after installation”. How then did that 120x120 square feet hoarding in Ghatkopar get the approvals despite, as a probe has shown, its pillars being merely 1.5 metres deep and clearly unable to withstand especially strong winds or rain? The railways do not inspire confidence among Mumbaikars at all.

The arrested now includes the man at the centre of it all, Bhavesh Bhinde of Ego Media, the company contracted to erect the hoarding. Bhinde is only the visible face of this deadly scam to whose door the railways and the BMC are passing the buck. What of the officers, the invisible but accountable men and women, who approved this hoarding that turned fatal for so many and put revenue above people’s lives? Why should their identities not be publicly disclosed and they be penalised with the harshest punishment? No individual or authority should be allowed to get away passing the buck to the other.

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