BMC to penalise parties for erecting hoardings

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to penalise those who have erected political hoardings across the city. Newsline had on Wednesday reported the poor rate of prosecution based on complaints by citizens.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Mohan Adtani said, "We will take action against the parties under the Maharashtra Prevention of Defacement of Public Property Act, 1995. We will also recover the money incurred for removal of the hoardings from them."

At present, under Sections 328 and 328(A) of the Mumbai Municipal Act, 1888, the civic body is empowered to regulate illegal hoardings and fine offenders between Rs 500 and Rs 5,000. Failure to comply with the Maharashtra Prevention of Defacement of Public Property Act, 1995, is a cognisable offence.

According to superintendent of the BMC's license department Sharad Bande, the civic body routinely collects fines for illegal commercial banners, posters and boards. Till date, of a total of 45,940 illegal signs, only 886 were commercial and 32,285 political.

"It is difficult to take action against those behind political banners as sometimes it may be a supporter or even a detractor out to create trouble," said Bande.

On October 2, Newsline had reported that BMC's dependence on citizens' complaints to initiate action is to blame for an abysmal rate of prosecution against politicians — the main culprits behind illegal advertisements.

While the corporation has removed over 45,000 illegal hoardings since January this year, it has initiated prosecution against merely 28 political banners, boards and posters in the same time. Only 18 police complaints have been filed since the beginning of the year.

In September alone, despite an apparent rise in the number of illegal hoardings across the city, the department removed only 3,133 hoardings of which 2,731 were political. The department fared better in August when 5,881 illegal hoardings were taken down.

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