Petrol Pump On Which Mumbai Billboard Fell Didn't Have Clearance

The petrol pump, on which a massive billboard came crashing down on Monday, killing 16 and injuring over 40 others in Mumbai's Ghatkopar, did not have an Occupancy Certificate (OC), sources have said.

May 16, 2024 - 17:00
Petrol Pump On Which Mumbai Billboard Fell Didn't Have Clearance

The petrol pump, on which a massive billboard came crashing down on Monday, killing 16 and injuring over 40 others in Mumbai's Ghatkopar, did not have an Occupancy Certificate (OC), sources have said. An OC is a formal document granted by a municipal body, confirming that a building has followed all laws, relevant building codes and regulations.

Following the Ghatkopar billboard incident, authorities have expanded their inquiry to include the petrol pump's permit status. In Mumbai, businesses, including petrol pumps, require licenses sanctioned by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). While interim licenses were issued for constructing petrol pumps on Government Railway Police (GRP) sites, investigations are underway to determine if the requisite operational license was secured.

READ | Couple Found Dead In Car Under Mumbai Hoarding. They Had Stopped For Petrol

The focus has now shifted to scrutinising the permits granted to such establishments, with the Mumbai metropolitan area mandating licenses overseen by the BMC for any business operations. Also under investigation are the provisional licenses issued for the construction of petrol pumps, particularly those replacing GRP structures.

The land on which the petrol pump operates falls within the jurisdiction of the housing department, requiring approval from the Revenue Department for commercial use. Lack of clarity regarding how commercial activities were sanctioned at the site without obtaining permissions from the Revenue Department has prompted inquiries directed at the Police Housing Development Corporation.

According to sources, objections were raised by the Police Housing Development Corporation concerning construction activity at the petrol pump site. The corporation, responsible for housing solutions for police personnel, contends that the land was earmarked for government infrastructure or residential purposes for government employees. Despite objections and recommendations against the construction of petrol pumps on such lands, work commenced without securing governmental approvals.

The Railway Commissioner sought permission from the Director General of Police (DGP) to proceed with the project, citing potential revenue generation for police welfare initiatives. 

A case has been filed against Bhavesh Bhinde, the owner of Ego Media Private Limited, the company responsible for erecting the hoarding, and additional suspects. The charges include culpable homicide not amounting to murder, filed at Pant Nagar police station. According to the police, Bhinde remains missing. 

In response to the escalating concerns, the Maharashtra Home Minister has issued directives for a comprehensive investigation into the case, assigning the responsibility to a DGP-ranked officer. Additionally, seven teams have been mobilised to track down the fugitive accused, with the latest lead tracing Bhinde's whereabouts to Lonavala.
 

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