3,700 banners pulled down in under 13 hrs

Mar 15, 2013, 07:10 IST | Sujit Mahamulkar

BMC works round the clock to make the city banner-free after HC ordered the removal of illegal hoardings within 24 hours on Wednesday

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was finally shaken out of torpor by the Bombay High Court and started taking action against illegal banners and posters since early morning yesterday. The corporation successfully pulled down close to 3,700 illegal hoardings within 13 hours and the action went on till 11 in the night.

Illegal banners
After the high court directive, all illegal banners and posters were pulled down. Eighty per cent of these belonged to political parties, revealed an official estimate. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

On Wednesday, the Bombay High Court directed the BMC and other district councils to remove all illegal hoardings within 24 hours. A division bench headed by justice A M Khanwilkar also asked the civic bodies to issue notices to people whose names or pictures are printed on the hoardings.

“We have started taking action and will submit a compiled report before the HC on Friday. About 3,700 banners and posters were removed till 8 pm,” said Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner.
He also stated that the BMC was coming up with a plan to discourage political parties from erecting illegal hoardings, and added, “We are making some changes in our policy and this should be ready within the next two months.”

Late on Wednesday evening, the BMC assured that it would bring down all illegal posters and banners in a day. As per the records, up until 3 pm on Thursday, the corporation removed 1,996 posters including flags (see box). Most of the wards used additional machinery to speed up the procedure. “A total 56 vehicles were used today (Thursday) and a few workers from other sections like anti-hawkers’ squads were asked to assist in the drive,” said Bhagwan Sathe, licence superintendent of the BMC.

Dinesh Jain, assistant municipal commissioner, said, “We deployed four vehicles and 7-8 workers per vehicle for the morning shift. The action will be continued till 11 pm in the second shift.” BMC is expected to earn huge amounts of revenue as it plans to fine people whose names are mentioned on the hoardings and also issue showcause notices to them. They may even register FIRs with local police stations. The amount of fines that could be levied ranges between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000, depending on the kind of advertisement and the size of the banner.

Rahul Shewale, standing committee chairman, welcomed the proposal, saying, “We are planning to form a committee which would help us retrieve the names of the people displayed on the banners. This would ease work pressure on the inspectors who are already involved in pulling down the banners at such short notice.”

All about politics
An overview of the banners pulled down till 3 pm on Thursday:
Political banners: 1,050
Commercial banners: 57
Religious banners: 145
Political posters: 130
Political flags: 154
Political boards: 396
Commercial boards: 12
Religious boards: 52
Total: 1,996

We have informed all our seniors and party workers about BMC’s plans to make our city banner free and will intimate everyone again
Rahul Shewale, Standing Committee Chairman and Sena corporator

The root cause of the problem needs to be treated, if the party workers don’t put them up there will be no banners
Dnyanraj Nikam, Group leader of Congress

We had asked our party workers to refrain from displaying their affection through hoardings. Wishes are more welcome personally and not via banners
Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party group leader

As told to Chetna Yerunkar 

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