Take precautions in monsoon to prevent Ghatkopar type hoarding crash: SC | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and the Railways to take adequate precautionary measures ahead of the monsoon to avoid incidents like the May 13 crash of an oversized hoarding at Ghatkopar that killed 14 persons and caused property damage.
On an application filed by MCGM in a pending petition challenging the Bombay HC’s 2017 judgment ousting the civic body’s jurisdiction over hoardings on railway land, a vacation bench of Justices Sanjay Kumar and P.B. Varale said the rains during the monsoon are accompanied by gusty winds and all authorities, including Railways and MCGM, should take extra care and measures to avoid such incidents. The bench posted the matter for hearing next week.
MCGM said its policy permitted the erection of hoardings with a maximum size of 40 ft X 40 ft. The hoarding at Ghatkopar was 120 ft X 120 ft, which could not withstand the wind speed during a thunderstorm and collapsed on an adjacent petrol pump.
Listing out 45 oversized billboards on land owned by southern and central railways, including three the size of the crashed Ghatkopar hoarding, the MCGM said, “Given the onset of monsoon and the grave hazard posed by such billboards to the general public, there exists an urgent and crucial need to regulate the sizes of hoardings immediately.”
The 45 oversized hoardings, not conforming to the maximum permissible size of 40 ft X 40 ft stipulated by the civic body, “suffer from a high likelihood of collapse on the adjoining municipal roads/private lands/structures, etc. The said structures endanger the lives and properties of the public,” MCGM said in its application.
The District Disaster Management Authority had, after the Ghatkopar crash, written to the railways for a structural audit of the oversized hoardings and their immediate removal. The railways responded by stating that MCGM has no jurisdiction over the hoardings on railway land.
Appearing for the railways, additional solicitor general Vikramjit Banerjee told the bench that the Ghatkopar hoarding crashed because the structure was unable to bear the load of the billboard. He said that billboards erected on railway properties are permitted only after considering the structural stability, the soil condition, and the probable wind speed during different seasons.
MCGM said even the Ghatkopar hoarding had a structural stability certificate but collapsed because of its huge size. “Only obtaining a structural stability audit/certificate does not absolve the railways from their statutory duty to comply with the provisions of the Disaster Management Act,” it said and requested the bench for an urgent hearing on the application prior to the onset of the monsoon.

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