Starting next week, a special squad of civic officials will be doing the rounds of the city in the night to keep a check on political functionaries illegally pasting banners and posters. The night squads, comprising ward officials, will be deployed across the 24 wards, and will be on the job for two months.
“During Holi, the special squad will patrol the area and keep a watch on any offender seen pasting banners or posters without seeking prior permission during late hours. This action will be in progress until the new policy is finalised,” said additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani, adding that it would take another two months for the policy to be formulated. “Prosecution will be initiated against those whose photos and names appear in the banners,” he said.
Last week, the Bombay high court issued a directive, asking the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to remove all illegal banners, boards and posters across the city within a span of 24 hours.
In response to the high court order, the BMC deployed all its men and machinery on a war footing, removing more than 6,000 illegal banners and boards within the high court-defined period. However, on account of the mass removal, there was no prosecution was initiated against offenders.
Citizen activists welcomed this move with scepticism. “In most cases, we have seen that banners, especially political, are fixed in the wee hours. With limited traffic and crowd, this is generally the time they are fixed,” said Cynthia Fernandes, a Kalina-based activist.
“We welcome the idea of night vigilance. However, unless the offenders are fined and prosecuted, the entire effort will be void,” she said.