The BMC’s apathetic approach to pulling down illegal hoardings is well known, but the police seem to have beaten them.
According to BMC licence department’s data, among the total banners removed, 5,623 were political, 3,721 religious and 970 were commercial. File pic for representation
The civic body took down 10,314 illegal banners in 2015 and alerted the police in about 1,731 of them. But the police registered FIRs in only 67 of these cases.
The civic body has appointed nodal officers in every ward to keep a check on illegal hoardings. Representation pic
According to the BMC licence department’s data till November 2015, among the total banners removed, 5,623 were political, 3,721 religious and 970 commercial.
Mumbai has been reeling under the menace of illegal hoardings for several years and the High Court has rapped the BMC a few times, asking the body to take action under the Maharashtra Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1995.
The civic body had appointed nodal officers in every ward to keep a check on hoardings and, in December 2014, launched two toll-free numbers — 1292 and 1293. People who report illegal hoardings are given a tracking ID, using which they can track what action is being taken.
An assistant municipal commissioner, who requested anonymity, said, “I have written letters to corporators, MLAs and MPs of my ward to prevent their people from putting up hoardings. But if you ask me why cases are not being converted into FIRs, I think, a lot of BMC officials are scared of registering an FIR against particular people. They do it against unknown people. Then what is the use? The person should be named, only then will he not repeat the offence. But who will bell the cat?”
There could be many reasons why complaints didn’t get converted into FIRs. For example, multiple letters or complaints could have been clubbed into one FIR. Or some might have lacked documents and we must have asked for more, or they could simply be in the process of being turned into FIRs. — DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni, Mumbai Police spokesperson
Devendra Amberkar, Congress corporator
We have strictly ordered all our members to not put up hoardings. Even if they do, they are removed quickly. We always cooperate with the BMC.
Manoj Kotak, BJP corporator
We have given written instructions to our members not to put up hoardings, no matter what the occasion. There is a high court order in the matter and we abide by it.