“It's a rainy day, posters will be soggy so rip them off!” - touting this as their mantra to make the national capital clean, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) on Thursday said it managed to remove 8,000 posters in a single day.
Attempting to make Delhi's walls free from posters and handbills, MCD had on Monday launched a drive to rid the city of posters and declared Aug 24 as Poster Free Day.
According to Additional Deputy Commissioner Amiya Chandra, 400 MCD staffers in 12 zones in coordination with 14 traders associations and several resident welfare associations (RWA) swung into action and were “very successful”.
“This is the first time we have marked a day to ensure a crackdown against defacement of public property and the drive was very successful. The staff kept count that 8,000 posters were removed,” Chandra told IANS.
“In addition, 30 police complaints were registered against regular offenders. We plan to take these cases to the next level and follow up on the prosecution,” he added.
The campaign, Municipal Commissioner K S Mehra said, was launched "to make the city look clean and beautiful ahead of the Commonwealth Games scheduled in October 2010".
Interestingly, there is a reason behind the timing of MCD's defacement drive.
"The decision was taken because it is monsoon season, the posters or hand bills or pamphlets stuck on the walls of the public properties get soggy and can be easily removed," Mehra explained.
Chandra said that MCD wants to raise awareness and “build up a movement or cult against making the city dirty. Now that we have made an attempt, residents should on their own have the urge to remove a poster. We all walk the city, so when out on a morning walk, rip one off. All it needs is each person to remove one poster”.
Under the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act 2007, defacement of public property or walls is a cognizable offence and doing so can warrant imprisonment for a term up to one year or fine of Rs.50,000.
However, some are sceptical about MCD's campaign. “The civic agency needs these drives as a PR (public relation) exercise, to make residents feel they are doing their job,” said Rajiv Kakaria of Greater Kailash-I RWA.
“Who put up the posters in the first place? If they (MCD officials) had been vigilant, there would never be a need for such a drive. As RWAs, we are willing to pitch in but this should not be a one-off event,” he added.