Remove illegal and unstable hoardings, signboards & electric signages immediately: Mumbaikars to BMC

In an open letter to petition to the Municipal Commissioner of Greater Mumbai, over 540 Mumbaikars have demanded the immediate removal of all illegal and unstable hoardings, signboards and electric signages in Mumbai district and strict action against offenders following the disastrous incident of the collapse of illegal hoarding at Ghatkopar on the evening of May 13, 2024, leading to the loss of 17 lives and causing serious injuries to several innocent people
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Over 550 Mumbaikars have, in an open letter petition urged and demanded that the Mumbai Mahanagar Palika immediately removal of all illegal and unstable hoardings, signboards and electric signage’s in Mumbai district and strict action against offenders following the disastrous incident of the collapse of illegal hoarding at Ghatkopar on the evening of May 13, 2024, leading to the loss of 17 lives and causing serious injuries to several innocent people.

This letter petition has been signed by over 540 residents of the cosmopolis.

The text of the letter petition may be read here:

June 11, 2024


1. Municipal Commissioner,
Municipal Commissioner of Greater Mumbai
Head Quarter, C.S.T. Mumbai – 400 001 /

2. Government Railway Police, Mumbai /Mumbai Railway Police Commissionerate
Through Commissioner of Police, Railways, Mumbai
4th Floor, Area Manager Building, D. Mello road, Wadi Bandar,
Mumbai – 400010

Re:  Immediate removal of all illegal and unstable hoardings, signboards and electric signages in Mumbai district and strict action against offenders following the disastrous incident of the collapse of illegal hoarding at Ghatkopar on the evening of May 13, 2024, leading to the loss of 17 lives and causing serious injuries to several innocent people


Ensure strict compliance of the order dated June 7, 2024 passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court directing you to ensure no hoarding collapse happens during monsoons

Dear Sirs,

We, concerned citizens, write this letter distressed by the series of incidents that have taken place in Mumbai, which point to gross negligence, criminal complicity and blatant failure on the part of the authorities to regulate and enforce proper checks on hoardings, billboards, signboards and electric signage’s in the city, seriously compromising the safety of citizens.

On May 13, 2024 in Ghatkopar, an illegal hoarding installed by a company Ego Media Pvt. Ltd., collapsed during a dust storm, leading to the death of 17 people, with 75 others sustaining injuries[1]. More than 100 people were trapped under the hoarding which fell over a petrol pump, and the rescue operations conducted by the disaster response team lasted 66 hours[2]. The Mumbai Crime Branch issued an official statement on May 22, 2024 informing that it has constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) with 6 police officers, to probe the hoarding collapse incident[3].

The hoarding belonged to Ego Media Pvt. Ltd., an advertising agency owned by one Bhavesh Bhinde. Admittedly, the hoarding weighed 250 tonnes and had a size of 120ft x 120ft, 9 times above the limit of 40ft x 40 ft. prescribed by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). Moreover it was erected illegally without permission from MCGM, as the land was purported to be owned by the Maharashtra Government’s Police Welfare Association on a plot maintained by Government Railway Police (GRP). The MCGM in its statement has confirmed that it had not granted permission to the hoarding for 2 years. 3 notices had been issued to the defaulting company in respect of the hoarding, last being just a few hours before the collapse on May 13, 2024, where the MCGM had demanded payment of outstanding licence fees to the tune of Rs. 61.4 crores within 10 days and ordered removal of all hoardings[4]. Bhavesh Bhinde, who has 21 criminal cases pending against him, was arrested on May 17, 2024 from Udaipur, Rajasthan[5]. BMC Engineer, Manoj Sanghu, who issued the structural stability certificate for the hoarding, 2 months after it being put up, was arrested on June 1, 2024[6]. He was allegedly on Ego Media Pvt. Ltd.’s monthly payroll and had not inspected the hoarding which was found to have a weak foundation. Pursuant to the same, on June 8, 2024, Janhavi Marathe, Ego Media’s director till November 2023 and Sagar Kumbhar, the civil contractor, who were absconding, were nabbed from a hotel in Goa[7].

It is revealed that Ego Media, the defaulting company is a repeated offender that was fined for violations over 100 times[8]. The MCGM actioned removal of 3 more illegal hoardings put up by the defaulting company around the vicinity of the Ghatkopar incident, and also called upon GRP to take down 8 more oversized and illegal hoardings put up by the defaulting company, and the unauthorized steel frames/structures of the hoardings were being dismantled[9]. In fact more reports are emerging on the repeated violations by the accused owner, and the investigation has revealed that earlier companies established by him and his associates such as Slop Media, Gujju Ad Pvt. Ltd., Forty Band Com, Meadows Media and Gujju Ad Proprietors had also been blacklisted by the railways for financial misconduct[10]. However, it is appalling that in spite of the multiple violations and illegalities committed by the defaulting company and its predecessors, the MCGM failed to take action against the company or to remove this illegal hoarding in 2 years. In fact it is apparent that the company was aided by the authorities to retain the hoarding despite it being a potential hazard. The inaction and collusion on the part of MCGM and its officials, constitutes a wilful act of complicity, and at the very least criminal negligence and dereliction of duty, resulting in an avoidable tragedy of massive proportions.

While initially the MCGM took a stand that the illegal hoarding stood on railway land, raising the question on how GRP permitted the putting up of the illegal hoarding in spite of the numerous notices issued by MCGM, it is now being claimed that the land belongs to the state government[11]. The police had apparently sought clarifications and documents from the railways and state government to look into the matter of ownership of the land on which the hoarding was standing. It is now investigating how the MCGM was misled into believing it was railway land. Even the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission has in its latest order noted that the submissions made on ownership and permission in the report submitted by the Dy. Commissioner of Police create more confusion on who is to be held responsible for according permission for installing the hoarding in question and has asked him as well as your offices to submit a detailed affidavit[12]. Be that as it may, it is pertinent to note here that the Bombay High Court in its judgement dated 21st December 2017 passed in the matter of Union of India vs. MCGM and Others (Writ Petition No. 1648 of 2017), had directed the Railway authority to formulate a policy for regulating the hoardings on the railway properties, after taking into consideration various statutory provisions, so as to ensure that the hoardings are not erected in haphazard manner, that there is no overcrowding of the hoardings and that the safety of citizens is not endangered. Whether such a policy was formulated and if so, followed in the present case and to regulate hoardings put up across the city, also needs to be urgently looked into, especially considering the sheer number of hoardings standing on railway land across the city generating large amounts of revenue for the Central Government. While the MCGM and GRP are blaming each other for the incident, the common citizens are the ones exposed to unsafe conditions and suffering the adverse impact of their reckless acts. A thorough investigation is not only needed to unearth the role and complicity of MCGM and GRP officials in the lead up to this incident, but the issue of illegal and hazardous hoardings put up across the city, especially on railway land, which points to a larger scam.

The Maharashtra Government has announced ex-gratia compensation of Rs. 5,00,000/- for those killed in the incident[13], which has been termed ‘shameful’ by the victims’ families[14]. Apart from medical expenses, a compensation of Rs. 75,000/- for those with less than 60% disability and Rs. 2,50,000/- for those with more than 60% disability, has been announced for the injured. However, even as the compensation is grossly inadequate and the revenue generated from the hoardings is enormous, the MCGM, which is India’s richest civic body and is culpable for its acts and omissions in this incident, has failed to announce any compensation to the victims to date. Moreover, even the GRP which is also generating enormous revenue from the hoardings put up on railway land, has failed to announce any compensation to the victims. Meanwhile, the injured victims have not only lost their source of livelihood but are burdened with recurring medical costs, without support from the state or employers[15].

According to the Ministry of Earth sciences press release dated 1st April 2024, the Indian Meteorological Department has warned of heavy rainfall in the north-western part of the country[16]. The monsoons have started in Mumbai district. The city, which is already disaster-prone, is expecting high rainfall and there could be more storms and extreme weather events this monsoon. Hence, the chances of such incidents repeating is high, unless serious and prompt action is initiated by the MCGM to remove all unstable, oversized and illegal hoardings, billboards and signages across the city before the monsoons. It is further pertinent that the structural stability of the hoardings authorized by MCGM and standing as on date also be assessed, in light of the gross violations revealed pursuant to this case, and if found to be lacking, the permissions granted to them be revoked and the hoardings be removed immediately.

Apart from the Ghatkopar incident, the dust storm on May 13, 2024, had led to multiple other incidents in Wadala, Bandra etc. pointing to the increasing risk of multi-hazard events during monsoon. While the MCGM has called for action against illegal hoardings by removing them and has also called for structural audits of hoardings[17], unauthorized, oversized and hazardous hoardings, billboards and signages remain standing across Mumbai city and in other districts across the state, posing serious risk of more such human-induced disasters. On the night of June 5, 2024, an illegally put up digital hoarding, which had been asked to be removed by MCGM, fell on a senior citizen in Malad, Mumbai, seriously injuring him[18]. Meanwhile, at the onset of monsoon on June 8, 2024, a motorcyclist was killed in Ahmedpur, Latur district, as a signboard displaying directions fell on him amid strong winds[19]. This only points to a systemic problem of illegal and unstable hoardings and signages being allowed or put up by the authorities, largely to benefit private entities and corporate interests, while putting the public at large at serious risk. The risk is multiplied in the case of digital/electric signages. On June 7, 2024, the Supreme Court of India, in the MCGM’s pending challenge to the Bombay High Court’s decision on the applicability of provisions relating to hoardings on railway land, directed the authorities to ensure that no hoarding collapse happens during monsoons[20]. With the monsoons having started, the MCGM must ensure that no such incidents take place by taking prompt action against illegal and unstable hoardings, billboards and signages, to secure the safety of citizens.

We, accordingly, call upon you to forthwith –

  1. Ensure strict compliance of the Supreme Court’s order dated June 7, 2024 to prevent future incidents of hoarding collapse, by taking prompt action against all illegal and unstable hoardings, billboards and signages across the city.
  2. Survey and identify all the illegal, oversized and unstable hoardings, billboards and signages put up across Mumbai city, and remove them forthwith. Take all preventive measures, in coordination with the Disaster Management Authority, to ensure preparedness for multi-hazard events and to prevent future such human-induced disasters. Issue a public statement confirming that necessary action for removal of all illegal, oversized and unstable hoardings, billboards and signages has been taken by the authorities.
  3. Impose exemplary penalty, fine and take appropriate action under law against all the offenders for putting up unauthorized and illegal hoardings, billboards and signages in Mumbai city.
  4. Take prompt action against the defaulting companies / owners of illegal hoardings, billboards and signages, including Ego Media Pvt. Ltd., by permanently blacklisting the defaulters (including any new companies put up by the owners and their associates) from putting up hoardings or acquiring public work tenders. Recover the unpaid dues and fine/penalty imposed on Ego Media Pvt. Ltd. for its violations and take strict action against concerned officials of the company for their criminal acts.
  5. Provide adequate compensation to the families of the deceased, to the injured victims and all those who have suffered losses in the Ghatkopar incident of hoarding collapse on 13th May 2024, taking into account the economic loss suffered on account of life-long loss of livelihood and to their means of livelihood such as taxis, auto rickshaws etc., personal loss, recurring medical costs, trauma, grave nature of the tragedy and the enormous revenues earned from these illegal and unstable hoardings.
  6. Ensure appropriate compensation to the deceased and injured workers of petrol pump from the owners and the labour office of the government, as the worker was killed and others injured at their workplace.
  7. Conduct a thorough and independent investigation into the matter to identify erring officials of MCGM, GRP and all concerned officials / bodies responsible for the tragedy. Investigate any corrupt practices in place that have contributed to this incident and the putting up of illegal hoardings across the city. Initiate strict prosecution against all erring officials, including the top decision-makers, for their complicity /negligent acts.
  8. Appoint appropriate government authority to carry out regular structural audits of hoardings across the city. Furthermore, MCGM and Railways should review existing guidelines in respect of hoardings, billboards, signages etc. and issue strict guidelines for structural stability of such hoardings based on the wind speeds, rainfall and other environmental factors and climate considerations, and ensure proper implementation of the same, with frequent monitoring and review.

Yours sincerely,



C.C. To. :

1. Chief Minister, Maharashtra

  1. Chairperson, District Disaster Management Authority (Mumbai City)


















[18] ​​





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