Of the 1,051 illegal hoardings, banners and posters removed by the licence department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in the past four months (April – July), around 558 banners – close to 53 per cent – were political in nature.
Following the election results on May 16, the civic body had intensified its drive to remove illegal political hoardings in the city. The civic body also pulled down maximum posters in the month of May. Of the 460 illegal posters and banners, around 294 – close to 63 per cent were political hoardings put-up by various political parties in the city in the same month.
The highest number of banners were removed from the P/North ward (includes Malad), where, out of 96 illegal hoardings, close to 61 were congratulatory messages put up by political parties, followed by the L ward (Kurla, some parts of Ghatkoper and Vikhroli), where 47 of the 65 banners were political in nature.
“We have been extra vigilant from the time the election results were declared. With the upcoming Assembly elections, many political parties will also put out messages to woo voters. We have informed all the 24 wards to take action and report against the illegal hoardings every day,” said a senior civic official from the licence department of the civic body.
Expressing displeasure over the increasing number of illegal hoardings in the state, the High Court (HC) in February had asked the BMC to pull down all posters obstructing the smooth flow of traffic and causing trouble to pedestrians.It had also said that it would hold the municipal commissioners as co-conspirators responsible for putting up illegal hoardings.
Following the HC order and the imposition of the model code of conduct, the civic body had pulled down close to 7, 131 illegal posters and banners in the month of March itself.
While BMC said that there was a drastic decrease after March, it has also not given permission for political hoardings after the HC diktat. It is also in the process of implementing the Delhi model of zero tolerance. For religious, cultural and social banners and hoardings, prior permission needs to be taken along with payment of requisite charges to BMC, the official added.
As of July 8, the civic body had also removed 345 religious posters and banners, followed by 148 commercial hoardings in the city. The highest number of religious banners, around 130, was removed in the month of April.