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Mumbai civic body to allow digital billboards only in the island city to avoid accidents

The BMC officials claim suburban areas have major roads and highways where such hoardings will distract motorists

mumbai Updated: Jan 15, 2018 09:21 IST
Sagar Pillai
Sagar Pillai
Hindustan Times
Digital billboards are a big draw at Times Square in New York. (AFP)

As the much-awaited new hoarding policy introducing digital billboards is being prepared, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to allow such digital billboards only within the island city. Civic officials working on the policy claimed that the suburban areas have major roads and highways where such hoardings will distract motorists.

Digital boards will be strictly prohibited from being put up across the highways in order to avoid untoward incidents. The decision to allow digitised hoardings has been taken following suggestions by representatives of Mumbai Hoarding Owners Associations that the civic body should allow replacing all existing billboards/hoardings with digital ones. It has also been decided to implement the decision in a phased manner in order to see the response it generates.

A senior civic official said visually attractive formats such as digital hoardings in the outdoor can cause accidents, but added there are no studies that can prove this. The official said, “The digital hoardings will be put up in selective places in the island city considering the sensitivity of the area. The suburban areas, on the other hand, have major roads and highways because of which it’s more difficult to have digital boards. We will consider all other aspects and then take a call on it.”

Given that illegal hoardings continue to be put up across the city, the policy will also mandate registering a First Information Report (FIR) in cases of illegal hoardings or banners. Another civic official said, “It is compulsory for all agencies to put up a detailed board stating the permit number and all required details along with the hoarding. This helps us in identifying illegal hoardings in the city and initiate necessary action. Currently, there are fewer police complaints via-a-vis illegal hoardings. With the new policy, officials will have to register FIR in such cases.”

According to the plan, the existing hoardings will be replaced with LED screens which will display static ads, while hoardings near highways will not be replaced with digital hoardings. The civic body will also issue live updates and warnings during natural disasters and emergencies through these digital billboards. Currently, the hoardings have flexes, which have to be replaced time and again. However, with the new digital boards, the advertising agencies will be able to change ads every 10 seconds.

First Published: Jan 15, 2018 09:21 IST