Surat Municipal Corporation Cracks Down on Dangerous Hoardings Following Ghatkopar Tragedy

Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has launched an urgent campaign to remove potentially hazardous advertising hoardings across Surat following Ghatkopar tragedy


SURAT, GUJARAT : In a swift response to the tragic hoarding collapse in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar that claimed the lives of 16 people and left 74 others injured, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has launched an urgent campaign to remove potentially hazardous advertising hoardings across Surat. This proactive measure aims to prevent similar disasters, especially during natural calamities.

The Ghatkopar incident, which occurred on May 13, involved the collapse of a massive 120×120-foot billboard set up by Ego Media Pvt Ltd. Despite having permission for a smaller 40×40-foot structure, the company erected a significantly larger hoarding that fell during unseasonal rain and gusty winds, tragically trapping nearly 100 people at a busy petrol pump. Bhavesh Bhinde, the director of Ego Media Pvt Ltd, was arrested in Udaipur following the incident.

Prompted by this disaster, SMC has moved decisively. Over the past two days, the corporation has issued 600 notices to advertising agencies, demanding the removal of hoardings deemed dangerous. These notices are part of a broader strategy to safeguard lives and properties across the city from the potential hazards posed by unstable billboards, particularly during unpredictable weather events similar to those on May 13.

A significant number of these hoardings are owned by Shah Publicity, a well-known advertising agency in Surat. Inspections have revealed that many of their structures pose severe risks and could result in substantial damage during natural disasters. Despite the urgency of the situation, the SMC’s efforts are somewhat hampered by a lack of coordination between its Estate department and its Centralised Policy. Consequently, the responsibility for dismantling these dangerous billboards has been delegated to the respective municipal zones within the city.

The SMC’s crackdown on hazardous hoardings is a necessary step to ensure public safety. The lack of stringent enforcement and oversight in the past has led to numerous billboards being erected without adhering to safety standards, increasing the risk of accidents during adverse weather conditions. The tragic events in Ghatkopar serve as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of negligence and non-compliance with regulations.

“By targeting the removal of dangerous hoardings, SMC aims to avert any Ghatkopar-like incidents in Surat. The swift issuance of notices and the inspection of hoardings across the city underline the seriousness with which the corporation is treating this issue” said a senior SMC officer.

“However, for these efforts to be truly effective, there must be sustained coordination and enforcement across all relevant departments of the SMC. Only through a unified and systematic approach can the city ensure that all advertising structures meet the necessary safety standards and that potential risks are mitigated effectively” said Aslam Cyclewala, former councillor of SMC.