Fines, warnings and criticism be damned. The Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena installed hoardings between Dadar Shivaji Park and Bandra, wishing people on the occasion of Gudi Padwa, in a blatant violation of the Bombay High Court’s order.
Hoarding put up at Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar. Pic/Atul Kamble
The HC has repeatedly asked political parties and BMC officials to ensure that no banners or hoardings mar the cityscape, but the festival turned out to be a poor excuse to break the law. The stretch leading to the Shiv Sena Bhavan junction was dotted with banners and hoardings of all sizes. Ditto the scenario near Shivaji Park, and the Western and Eastern Express Highway suburbs was not much different.
The political parties also put up their flags on lampposts across the city.
Mumbai has been reeling under the menace of illegal hoardings for several years now. After the HC rapped the BMC a few times, asking it to take action under the Maharashtra Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1995, the BMC launched toll-free helplines — 1292 and 1293 — in December 2014 to report illegal hoardings. But these have been of little use; very few complaints have been registered through them.
mid-day had on January 5 put the spotlight on the issue after the civic body appointed nodal officers in every ward to keep a check on hoardings.
An official from BMC’s licence department said, “We have been taking action against illegal banners and hoardings, but they are still being put up by political parties. On Saturday morning, we will start removing them.”
SB Bande, superintendent of the department, said, “I am on official leave and, hence, cannot comment on the issue.”