Monday, Dec 22, 2014

BMC may charge private housing societies for billboards

Civic body yet to work out details, says charge will be according to ready reckoner rates. Civic body yet to work out details, says charge will be according to ready reckoner rates.
Written by Alison Saldanha 2 | Mumbai | Posted: January 12, 2014 11:45 pm | Updated: January 13, 2014 10:58 am

In a move that may upset private housing societies in the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has proposed to acquire a share of the profits that they earn from leasing out the space for hoardings on their premises.

The rule is part of the civic body’s new hoardings policy, which was given final approval by Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte in December 2013. According to the proposed financial aspect that will require approval from the civic standing committee, a premium will be levied on buildings for allowing hoardings in compounds and dead-wall portions. The new rule is expected to roll out at the start of the of 2014-2015 financial year.

“Housing societies earn lakhs by leasing out open spaces for billboards on their premises. Since these are in public view, the BMC has a right to charge these bodies and take a share of the revenue for public funds. Even the Delhi Municipal Corporation collects 50 per cent of the revenue private bodies earn from leasing space for billboard advertisements,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Mohan Adtani. He added that while the BMC would not demand half the earnings, the premium charged would be based on a formula developed through the ready reckoner rate of the area.

“We are still evaluating the feasibility of such a charge. It is likely that we will charge 1-2 per cent of the ready reckoner rate,” said superintendent of the licences department, Sharad Bande.

As per the new policy, hoardings atop terraces and roofs of buildings are now banned within the limits of Mumbai on account of buildings’ structural stability. In places where hoardings are already put up, the BMC will allow the advertisements to continue till the structure is 30 years old, or, for buildings older than 30 years, until the two-year lease period expires. Moreover, billboards are banned at religious places, heritage precincts, coastal regulatory zonal areas, and the distance between two should not be less than 100 m from each other. The ban has drawn extensive criticism from various political parties in the BMC, especially the BJP, whose leader Dilip Patel has claimed such a decision would lead to loss of potential revenue.

Data from the civic licence department shows that at present, there are 1,692 hoardings in Mumbai, of which 630 are on terraces and rooftops. Additionally, 194 are set up on the dead-wall portions of buildings, while the rest are installed on ground.

alison.saldanha@expressindia.com

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