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Giant billboard falls on dozens of people in India’s financial capital (VIDEO)

At least eight were killed and many more injured when the massive structure collapsed in Mumbai due to a sudden rainstorm 

At least eight people died and over 60 were injured on Monday when a 30-meter-tall billboard was sent crashing to the ground by a sudden rainstorm in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar neighborhood. The structure fell onto a nearby filling station and residential buildings, according to Indian media reports. 

Over 60 people have been pulled from the rubble, according to the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Dozens are still feared trapped; rescue work was conducted throughout Monday evening. Maharashtra state’s Chief Minister Eknath Shind announced that the families of those who lost their lives would be financially compensated. He also directed authorities to conduct an audit of all the billboards in the city.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), his deputy Devendra Fadnavis said the state government has ordered an investigation into the incident.

Speaking to the media later, he noted that there had been “several irregularities” in allowing the structure to be erected. “Who gave the permission [for installing the billboard] will be checked. Some notices were served, and why no action was taken will also be checked,” Fadnavis said.

Mumbai municipal commissioner Bhushan Gagrani told the Hindustan Times that the structure was “illegal.” “We will check the licenses of all billboards in Mumbai and if they don’t have licenses, they’ll be considered illegal,’‘ he said, adding that the authorities would order a structural audit of all billboards in the city, which is seeing a massive construction boom. 

The structure collapsed due to unseasonal rainfall, accompanied by a dust storm and lightning. The weather change also led to road accidents, flights and train cancellations, as well as water logging. 

The city has been experiencing a surge in construction activity over the past few years, with both active road and metro construction and the ongoing redevelopment of residential areas across multiple locations in a city of over 20 million. A total of 3,927 housing projects were completed in 2023 compared to 1,749 in 2022, according to data from Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority cited by Hindustan Times. The number of completed projects has jumped since the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, during which real estate construction was put on hold.

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