Illegal hoardings: After HC order,Kunte cracks the whip

The Bombay High Court ordering a strict crackdown on illegal banners and posters in the city has led Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte,who had until recently been hesitant to take politicians head-on,to take a stern view of the matter.

Published:March 15, 2013 3:18 am

The Bombay High Court ordering a strict crackdown on illegal banners and posters in the city has led Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte,who had until recently been hesitant to take politicians head-on,to take a stern view of the matter. He is getting ready to implement the Delhi model of “zero tolerance” to illegal hoardings,a major chunk of which in Mumbai is of political parties and leaders.

The HC had on Wednesday said it would hold Municipal Commissioners of corporations as co-conspirators in putting up illegal hoardings and contemplate action against them. It asked Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and civic bodies in Navi Mumbai,Thane,Mira Bhayander and Pune to remove illegal posters,banners,billboards and hoardings within 24 hours.

Kunte will soon send a team of civic officials to study how the civic body in Delhi has managed to keep it free of posters and banners despite it being a hub of political activity. “We are working out a model for Mumbai wherein banners and hoardings,especially those of politicians,will not be tolerated. If it is possible in political hub Delhi,which has more politicians than any other city,Mumbai can definitely follow such a model,” Kunte told Newsline.

“In Mumbai,there are too many political hoardings at too many places,although there is no permission for many of them. It seems the whole city is littered with them making it dirty. We want to get rid of this image,” he said. According to civic officials,the city is estimated to have 3,500-4,000 illegal hoardings,many of which are put up by politicians and party workers.

Presenting the 2013-14 budget of the civic body recently,Kunte had proposed a banners- and posters-free city and said. “We are in talks with political leaders and want to achieve this through cooperation of on politicians than adopt a confrontational attitude.”

But the High Court’s stern words on Wednesday has forced the civic body to swing into action with hoardings being pulled down not just across Mumbai,but also in Navi Mumbai and Thane.

The civic administration is also in the process of drafting a policy on illegal hoardings and banners. Under the standard operating procedure (SOP) proposed now,the civic body will retain the right to decide which banner could be put up. “Although in the planning stage,we will ensure the policy is strict and streamlined with no tolerance for illegal political hoardings,” Kunte said,adding the civic body would also initiate action against political parties,politicians or those responsible for putting up illegal hoardings.

The BMC will come out with a policy on banners and hoardings in two months. The policy will require the nod of the majority of the 227 corporators in the civic body’s general body meeting.

Under the MMC Act,action can initiated against a person for putting up an illegal banner under section 328 and a fine of Rs 1,000-Rs 5,000 can be imposed depending upon extent of violation of norms. Besides,as per section 3 of Prevention of Defacement of Property Act,1995,an offender can be fined up to Rs 2,000 or imprisoned for three months or both.

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