BMC’s new policy says no to hoardings atop buildings

Ads in their lease period with structures less than 30 yrs old to be spared for now.

Written by Alison Saldanha | Mumbai | Published: December 5, 2013 1:51 am

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has banned new hoardings atop residential and commercial buildings within the city limits. The civic body has also increased the distance between two licensed advertisement hoardings from 20 m to 100 m. Hoardings have also been banned around religious sites.

The latest hoarding policy,approved by Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte earlier this week,is aimed at stopping the spread of advertisement boards and gradually phasing out the existing ones.

According to the BMC’s licence department,1,692 hoardings are currently installed in the island city and eastern and western suburbs. Of these,630 have been installed on terraces and rooftops. The ban will not include 194 hoardings set up on dead-wall portions of buildings and 868 installed at ground level.

“The new policy bans all hoardings on top of buildings. We want to curtail the growth of these structures. We cannot immediately remove the hoardings where the lease period has not expired. We will allow them to remain till the expiry,” Additional Municipal Commissioner Mohan Adtani said.

The BMC specifies a two-year ceiling for hoardings leases. While buildings older than 30 years face imminent removal of the advertisement boards set up on terraces,the BMC will allow leases to be renewed in case of structures under 30 years of age. Leases will be renewed only if the renewal application contains a structural stability certificate. The renewals can happen only till the building reaches 30 years of age.

“This way,we can ensure safety of buildings. Now that the policy has received final approval,a circular will be issued to all ward offices on Thursday,” Adtani said.

Adtani denied these new conditions were included following the collapse of five-storey Aftab Manzil in Mahim in June,in which 10 persons were killed. According to resident and advocate Rizwan Merchant,a large hoarding set up on top of the structure was one of the reasons for the building’s collapse. The BMC denied this in its investigation report and concluded that lack of maintenance by residents was the main cause for the collapse.

Sharad Bande,superintendent of the licence department,said,“We will assess the position of hoardings in various parts of Mumbai. We will take down those that do not follow the criteria under the current policy,which prohibits advertisement boards in heritage precincts,Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) areas,and public playgrounds. We will issue showcause notices to the owners of illegal hoardings,and hold public hearings before deciding which ones follow the criteria and can be allowed.”

(alison.saldanha@expressindia.com)

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