oppn parties Mumbai Hoarding Collapse: Rampant Corruption

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Mumbai Hoarding Collapse: Rampant Corruption

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2024-05-15 02:53:34

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

The Mumbai hoarding tragedy is another instance of the authorities turning a blind eye to gross violations of rules even if the proof of the same is right there in front of them. It is unthinkable that a huge hoarding at a prominent place could come up and remain in place for more than two years without the active connivance of the authorities. Rules were flouted and overlooked as palms were greased and the hoarding remained in place as, perhaps, regular payments were made to officers to keep them happy. The end result was that when the dust storm hit Mumbai, the structure came crashing down (as it was not built as strongly as needed to save costs) and killed, till last count, 14 persons and injured more than 80.

As usual, the authorities will indulge in blame game and the public will never come to know who was responsible. The owner of the ad agency that put up the hoarding has gone missing. Preliminary investigation has revealed that the structure was put up illegally without soil tests and structural audit of pillars. But how is that possible? The officers of the BMC are supposed to do field checks and should have stopped the construction. It is obvious that the structure was allowed to be built after palms were greased. It was a stroke of luck that when the hoarding fell on the petrol pump, it did not set off explosions otherwise more people would have died.

Instead of setting up enquiry commissions and passing the buck, the authorities will do well to identify the officer who was responsible for watching the area where the hoarding came up. It should then identify the junior officers who were tasked with conducting regular field inspections to spot illegal construction. All of them should be charged with gross negligence of duty and suitably punished. A rule should be inserted in the law books of municipal corporations that the officer under whose watch illegal constructions come up will be held solely responsible for the same and will face punitive action to stop such structures from coming up.