Now that the revelries are over, the authorities are finally getting round to taking action against those who used the festivities as an excuse to break laws. In the 10 days of Ganeshostav, thousands of banners and posters were seen dotting the streets. Of these, the BMC has removed only about 400 illegal ones, a majority of them being political hoardings.
Apart from the 400 illegal banners, the BMC has registered 263 FIRs with various police stations in the city for defacement.
The FIRs have been registered under section 3 of the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1995, under which a lawbreaker can be fined up to Rs 2,000, or face imprisonment for up to three months, or both.
The civic body had originally prohibited all kinds of banners from being displayed. However, the mayor put forward a request from mandals for relaxation of the strict rule, as they weren’t being able to generate enough revenue for their festivities. After this, permission was given for advertisement banners, but only within 100 metres of the mandals. Political banners, however, were ruled out completely.
According to the BMC, it has raised only Rs 3.45 lakh as fee taken for authorising advertisement hoardings within 100 metres of the Ganesh pandals, which were the only kind of hoardings permitted during Ganeshotsav this year. Needless to say, the rules were broken and many posters were seen beyond the 100-metre radius, on public roads and footpaths.
“Many mandals have crossed the limit and posters were put up indiscriminately. The BMC should seriously follow the policy if they have formed it,” said Deryk Talker, president of Wake Up Bandra, an area local management (ALM) body.
“We had permitted about 625 mandals to put up banners within 100 metres of their pandals, but many were put up beyond this radius. We have lodged complaints against all those that put them up,” said Sharad Bande, BMC licence superintendent. He added that the permission was granted only for the 10 days of the festival, and all of them will now be removed.
What the law says
The BMC can take action against illegal banners under section 328 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act of 1888, which says that the errant party will have to cough up Rs 1,000-5,000 in fine, depending on the size of the banner or poster. Also, they would be charged under section 3 of the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1995, under which a lawbreaker can be fined up to Rs 2,000 or face imprisonment up to three months or both.