Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi may have been on a one-day visit to the city, but overzealous party workers plastered the city with hundreds of illegal banners and posters to welcome the Gandhi scion. The streets leading towards Bhaidas Hall, King’s Circle and around Tilak Bhavan were flooded with posters bearing Gandhi’s picture and welcoming him to the city.
Over a 100 banners were seen along Road number 1, where Gandhi was scheduled to visit, some with signs and directions to the venue. The banners and posters were put up illegally as permission has not been sought from the authorities. In February last year, the BMC issued a circular stating that no posters or banners should be put up on major roads (60 feet wide), crossroads, traffic junctions, water storage tanks, public toilets, trees, electric poles, railway stations, bus stops, flyovers, gardens and religious places or in a perimeter of 25 metres around traffic islands.
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“We started removing banners at around 2.30 pm. However, we don’t have information about the exact number of banners that were put up,” said an officer from the H-west ward office, on condition of anonymity. Deputy municipal commissioner Rajendra Bhosale (License department) and assistant municipal commissioner Sunil Dhamne of H-west ward were unavailable, while S B Bande, BMC license superintendent, did not wish to comment.
“We have issued a circular about erecting banners, posters. As per the circular, no permission should be given for King’s Circle,” Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner said. According to the three-page circular issued last February, each banner, poster and hoarding was required to have a copy of the permission letter attached to it, failing which, it would be pulled down.
A senior BMC official also said that workers of political parties were misusing the permission issued to them.“If we permit 15 posters or banners, they put more than 50, which leads to defacement. This should not happen,” the official said. The ward assistant municipal commissioner has the right to issue permission in his jurisdiction, which lasts for a specific period. Those that have exceeded the period will have to be removed by the persons who put them up. If they don’t, they will forfeit their deposit,” he added.