The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is in a tizzy trying to remove all illegal hoardings, banners and posters, especially those of political parties, as the Bombay high court wants a compliance report on Friday.
“We have deployed men and machinery since Wednesday evening to remove banners across the city on a war-footing,” said additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani. “We will clear the streets by Thursday evening. We will initiate criminal action against those who interfere with our work of removing the banners.”
Acting on a bunch of public interest litigations, a division bench of justice Ajay Khanwilkar and justice Ashok Bhangale on Wednesday directed the Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli and Mira-Bhayander civic bodies to fine the culprits, recover the cost of removing the hoardings and submit compliance reports on Friday.
“The Satara Municipal Council could do it in a week,” the court told advocate Ram Apte, who sought more time on behalf of the Thane Municipal Corporation. Acting on a court directive, the Satara Municipal Council had removed 109 hoardings within a week and recovered Rs 2.7 lakh as fine. After it submitted a compliance report, the court had issued notice to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on January 24 asking why it could not take such action.
In his budget speech last month, municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte had said that there was a need to control and regulate the mushrooming growth of advertisement hoardings and banners in the city. “Uneven and haphazard advertisement hoardings and banners in every nook and corner of the city are hampering its aesthetic aspects. As a first step towards making the city banner-free, hereafter, no banner of any kind will be permitted to be installed at any place in the city, barring some exceptions,” Kunte had said. He had also promised to make some parts of the city, especially the heritage structures, eventually hoarding-free.
As a part of its banner-free campaign, the civic licenses department had also organised a meeting with leaders of the political parties, which accounted for almost 80% of the illegal banners.