The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) new helpline numbers for complaints against illegal banners across the city don’t seem to be responding to complaints, just two months after their launch. mid-day found this firsthand, after lodging a complaint about illegal banners put up by the Traffic Police Department opposite their office in Worli, despite which, nothing was done.

mid-day had complained about this illegal banner and two others opposite the Traffic Police Department office in Worli on Tuesday. All the banners were still there in the same spots on Wednesday. Pics/Datta Kumbhar, Satyajit Desai
mid-day had complained about this illegal banner and two others opposite the Traffic Police Department office in Worli on Tuesday. All the banners were still there in the same spots on Wednesday. Pics/Datta Kumbhar, Satyajit Desai

The BMC had claimed they will remove illegal banners within 24 hours of a complaint registered. The civic body had introduced two helpline numbers, 1292 and 1293, for the same. But on Tuesday when mid-day visited a spot opposite the Traffic Police Department at Worli, there were two banners put up on an electricity pole and one on a tree.

On checking further, it was found that these banners belonged to the Traffic Police Department itself and did not have the approval of the civic body. A legal banner includes a date on which it was put up and a date on which it will be removed.

On Tuesday, mid-day had also taken photographs of the Traffic Police Department’s illegal banners and registered a complaint on the helpline number. However, though 24 hours passed there was no action taken against the complaint number 0721885507. The banners were still there on Wednesday.

When mid-day contacted the helpline on Wednesday, officials claimed that the complaint was registered and forwarded to the concerned department. When the BMC website was checked on Wednesday after 10 pm, the status of the complaint was ‘Work in progress’.

When asked about the Traffic Police Department banners, S Sheikh, deputy superintendent of licence department said, “They should have taken our permission. If it is an advertisement or banners with any message without BMC’s approval, we will remove them tomorrow.

Legal banners have our approval stickers, while the unauthorised ones are required to be pulled down within 24 hours. Our approval stickers are mandatory on all types of banners so that people will come to know whether it is an authorised or illegal banner.”

Sharad Bhande, superintendent of licence department had also said, “The illegal banners should be removed immediately after a complaint is registered.” The BMC had launched the helpline numbers for illegal banners and hoardings on December 6, 2014.