Political posters on a footpath at GD Ambekar Road, Bhoiwada, in Parel, on Sunday. Pic/Satej Shinde
A major cleanliness drive was carried out in the city on Sunday in the presence of Governor Ramesh Bais, CM Eknath Shinde and others as part of the nationwide Swachhata Hi Seva campaign. However, activists have pointed out that despite such endeavours, illegal political banners and hoardings are being allowed to proliferate across Mumbai.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) kicked off the cleanliness drive ahead of Gandhi Jayanti. Guardian Minister Deepak Kesarkar participated in the campaign at Girgaon Chowpatty.
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Activist Nikhil Desai, a Matunga resident, was not impressed.
"What about illegal political hoarding and banners? This year, after Ganeshotsav, there were no banners on the main road, but the internal roads are flooded with them," he said.
He added, "The high court has ordered the BMC to take strict action against banners and hoardings. But they are not doing this. They should penalise the city or district head of parties that illegally put up banners or hoarding on city roads. Two months earlier, I filed a complaint about an illegal banner at Dadar and BMC staffers called me. They removed the banner in question but didn't remove others near it. When I asked them about this, they told me they didn't have orders
to do so."
A resident of Veena Nagar in Mulund recently shared a picture of an illegal hoarding that had been erected on a footpath in the locality on social media. The person, who does not wish to be named, told mid-day that the banner obstructs pedestrians. "It covers the entire footpath. How can someone walk safely? Political parties should at least think about pedestrians," he said.
Kurla-based civic activist Azij Khan sought to know why the BMC is not cracking down on illegal banners. He said, "These banners mar the city's beauty. The civic body is spending crores of rupees on beautification and is holding a mega cleanliness drive. But why does it ignore this issue?"
Another activist, Rajkumar Sharma, said, "The city does not get clean in one day. There is a need for strict action against everyone who erects illegal banners in the city."
He added, "The BMC is not taking strict action like filing police or court cases. That is why banners are a never-ending problem. Banners are put using bamboo, which can fall anytime."
According to BMC data, authorities had removed 9,807 banners and hoardings between September 1 and 21. Of these, 4,919 were religious in nature while 3,566 were political and 608 were commercial.
No. of religious posters removed from Sept 1 to 21