Following the Bombay high court order in March this year, the civic body’s bannerfree drive has led to a phenomenal 92% dip in the total number of illegal banners and posters that remain in the city, reveals civic data.
A four-fold rise in the number of prosecutions and a sustained campaign including daylong vigils by ward officials has helped bring down this number, said civic officials.
“The drive against illegal banners and posters has continued in full force and has been consistent following the high court order. Also, the revised policy on banners that would regulate and restrict the display of number of banners in the city more stringently will be finalised in a month’s time,” said Rajendra Bhosale, deputy municipal commissioner (special).
According to data provided by the BMC’s license department, while on an average at least 5,600 illegal banners and posters were removed on a monthly basis up to the HC order, in April, the number of illegal banners and posters found on the streets was barely 402.
The civic data has also revealed that while in total, 78 prosecutions were initiated in a span of 14 months since last January- a record 375 prosecutions were initiated against the defaulters in March this year, following the HC directive.
“Besides our intervention and daily vigils, we have also sought help in the removal from the encroachments department. Every time they undertake their anti-hawker drives, they remove the illegal banners or posters up to 11pm daily,” said Bhagwan Sathe, superintendent, Licenses department.
On March 12, the Bombay high court issued a directive, asking the BMC to remove all the illegal banners, boards and posters across the city within a span of 24 hours. In response, the BMC deployed all its men and machinery on war-footing, removing more than 6,000 illegal banners and boards within the high court-defined period.
Citizen activists have welcomed this move with apprehension.
“There has been an appreciable drop in the number of illegal banners and posters that are notice on the streets,” said activist GR Vora. “However, I fear that the BMC’s massive crackdown is going to be a temporary phase, judging it by its track record,” he added.