Even as the number of illegal posters and banners defacing the city rose drastically through the month of October, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) managed to remove only 521 illegal banners last month.
Though the civic body removed 3,628 posters in the month of September, the sharp increase in the number of unauthorised political banners and posters during the festival season and the election appears to have been met with a coincidental slowing down of action against these by the civic body.
Of the 521 posters removed in October, only 127 were political banners, though these were seen in abundance last month.
Data obtained from the civic body also shows that it removed 143 banners that are religious in nature and only 10 banners that are classified as commercial hoardings. Civic officials from the licence department of the civic body confirmed that there has been a delay owing to many officials being on election-duty followed by Diwali holidays the next week.
“Before the code of conduct set in, we removed maximum number of illegal banners, however, the last month, most of the officials were on election duty,” said a official from the licence department. Last year, the High Court had come down heavily on the display of illegal posters and banners defacing the city. It had asked the BMC to pull down all the posters, levy fines against those who had put up the posters. Though BMC had come up with anti-banners policy in 2013, it is yet to be approved.
The zero tolerance policy had got an in-principle nod from civic leaders, however, some leaders were of the opinion that a complete ban will result in an “uproar” on the streets during festivals.
“The point of allowing posters during festivals was raised during the group leaders meeting before the election code of conduct and our only contention was that if we are allowing posters during Ganpati, then all religious festivals should be taken into consideration,” said Samajwadi Party leader, Rais Shaikh.