Dahi handi mandals to face the music for illegal posters

After a lull of five months, hundreds of illegal posters and hoardings that reappeared across the city for the festival of Gokulashtami have now invited the ire of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials.

Eyesore: Hoardings like this one in Dadar (W) were put up prior to Gokulashtami, defacing the city. Pic/Suresh K K

Taking note of the problem, the civic body officials will now click photographs of the posters and penalise the sponsors who put them up, flouting the ban on illegal posters.

In March, the Bombay High Court came down heavily on the corporation for allowing the city to get defaced by illegal banners and posters, and issued the order that they be pulled down within 24 hours.

The city, which has over 250 registered govinda mandals, was dotted with hundreds of posters wishing govindas and announcing cash prizes all over the city.

All major roads, like Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, SV Road, LBS Road, Dr Annie Besant Road, Swatantraveer Savarkar Road, LJ Road were decked with clearly visible posters, which also graced bylanes and chowks like Worli naka and Nana Chowk.

Though these banners were put up several days before the festival, the BMC will only be taking action from today. “We will take down all posters and banners, make a list of the people who put them up, and then start prosecuting them,” said Sharad Bande, superintendent of licences, BMC.  

Crime and punishment
Action will be taken under Section 328 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, 1888 wherein offenders would have to cough up fines ranging from Rs 1,000 to 5,000, depending on the size of the hoardings. Civic officials said they would also charge culprits under section 3 of Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1995, in which a lawbreaker can be fined up to Rs 2,000 or face imprisonment for three months or both. 

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