8 Years Before Mumbai Billboard Tragedy, An Author's Warning

Fourteen bodies have been recovered so far and rescue work is still on. PTI

New Delhi:

Eight years before a massive billboard in Mumbai crushed 14 people and injured many others during a storm, author Amitav Ghosh had warned of how the Maximum City’s billboards will become “deadly projectiles” if a cyclone strikes.

Mr Ghosh, who has repeatedly underlined the issues surrounding climate change in his work, wrote in ‘The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable’, “Many of the dwellings in Mumbai’s informal settlements have roofs made of metal sheets and corrugated iron; cyclone-force winds will turn these, and the thousands of billboards that encrust the city, into deadly projectiles, hurling them with great force at the glass-wrapped towers that soar above the city.”

Recounting the warning in the wake of the horrifying tragedy, Mr Ghosh said in a social media post that Monday’s storm was not even close to being a major cyclone and called for immediate steps to cut back on such billboards.

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“In The Great Derangement I wrote that in the event of a major storm ‘the thousands of billboards that encrust’ Mumbai would turn ‘into deadly projectiles’. The recent storm was nowhere near as damaging as a major cyclone would be. Mumbai really needs to cut back drastically on billboards,” he said on X.

During a dust-storm and sudden showers in Mumbai on Monday afternoon, a 120 x 120-feet billboard collapsed on a petrol pump, trapping more than 100 people. Fourteen bodies have been recovered so far and rescue work is still on. Under fire, civic officials have said the billboard was illegal and was installed without permission.

A case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder has been registered against those linked to the firm that installed the billboard.


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