Mumbai institute likely to submit report on hoarding crash in 7 days; petrol pump under lens

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Mumbai, May 16 (PTI) A Mumbai-based technological institute, asked to find out the reasons behind the collapse of a massive hoarding in suburban Ghatkopar, is expected to submit its report within seven days, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials said on Thursday.

As many as 16 persons died and 75 others were injured after the hoarding, measuring 120 feet x 120 feet in size, crashed onto a nearby petrol pump during a dust storm and unseasonal rains on Monday evening.

After the tragedy, the BMC asked the Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) to find out the reasons behind the crash.

A team of VJTI experts visited the petrol pump the day after the crash and inspected the hoarding's location, collected samples of soil and material used for the structure's foundation and took necessary measurements as well, they said.

The officials said the institute affiliated with the University of Mumbai is expected to submit its finding within a week.

Civic commissioner Bhushan Gagrani said the VJTI will submit its technical report to determine whether there was any issue with the billboard's foundation and stability.

As per BMC officials, "foundation failure" could be the reason for the collapse of the hoarding erected on a piece of land in possession of the Government Railway Police (GRP) as it was not deep enough.

Rakhi Jadhav, a former corporator of the NCP (SP), has claimed the petrol pump and the hoarding had come up on marshy land.

The BMC is going to ascertain if a valid licence was taken from civic authorities to run the fuel station.

In a release, civic commissioner Gagrani warned of appropriate action against the petrol pump, located in Ghatkopar's Chheda Nagar, if it was found to be operating without a valid licence.

Gagrani said a provisional licence was granted for the construction of the fuel facility.

"Any business in the metropolis requires a prescribed license from the BMC. Accordingly, a provisional license was also granted for the construction of a petrol pump at the site," said the IAS officer.

"The civic body will check whether a prescribed licence was obtained (by the fuel station's operator) to run the petrol pump. Appropriate action will be taken if there was no licence," Gagrani warned.

Meanwhile, the Director General of GRP (which possessed the land on which the hoarding was installed) has submitted a report on the crash to the Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) and the Additional Chief Secretary (Home), officials said.

Though findings of the report were not disclosed, the officials said it contains details of the circumstances in which the tragedy took place, the process of construction of a petrol pump on GRP land and bidding for installing a giant billboard near the fuel station. PTI KK DC RSY