Ghatkopar Tragedy: PMRDA Awaits Direction From Election Commission Over Action Against Illegal Hoardings

Ghatkopar Tragedy: PMRDA Awaits Direction From Election Commission Over Action Against Illegal Hoardings

Ghatkopar Tragedy: PMRDA Awaits Direction From Election Commission Over Action Against Illegal Hoardings

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Safety concerns mount as over 700 unauthorised hoardings pose risk across Pune region.

15 May 2024

By Payoshi Bisht

In the aftermath of the tragic hoarding collapse in the Ghatkopar area of Mumbai, due to which many people lost their lives, the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) is pushing for swift action against illegal hoardings within its jurisdiction, spanning over 842 villages across 7,357 square kilometres. With over 700 unauthorised hoardings cluttering major highways, safety concerns have come to the limelight.

Sunil Marale, PMRDA’s Joint Director of Planning, revealed that despite initiating a survey and issuing tenders in January for the removal of illegal hoardings, the process was halted due to the Lok Sabha elections. However, following the completion of voting, PMRDA has once again filed a petition with the Election Commission of India (ECI) for special consideration to proceed with the tendering process and contracts for demolition.

Sachin Maske, Tahasildar of PMRDA overseeing the Sky and Sign department, expressed the challenges faced in tender openings and work order. Despite efforts being put to educate hoarding owners, no progress could be made possible amidst the elections. Although, affidavits from hoarding owners pledging responsibility in case of calamities were obtained as a precautionary measure.

The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has yet to take action against illegal hoardings within its jurisdiction. Sachin Khot, Deputy Commissioner of the Sky and Sign department at PCMC, highlighted the Kiwale hoarding collapse incident last year, after which 189 illegal hoardings were demolished. The corporation conducted a meeting with hoarding owners on 15th April, emphasising the importance of these measures ahead of the monsoon season.

Khot emphasised the need for stricter measures in issuing or renewing hoarding licences, with mandating a structural stability report submission. A panel of architecture engineers has been appointed to assess and verify the stability of hoardings, holding them personally accountable for any structural issues or collapses in the future.