The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has removed 7,339 political posters, banners and hoardings put up on different public properties while implementing guidelines of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) that came into effect in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha elections on March 11.
It has so far temporarily covered 8,571 existing signs and filed 39 police complaints against violators for defacing public property.
The BMC has also removed 325 political banners and hoardings put up on various private properties and covered 330 others from across 24 wards in the city.
Among all the wards, the maximum number of political banners and posters — 1,383 — were removed from Goregaon west, followed by 1,102 from Byculla and 720 from Malad west. Maximum number of signs, wall writings, placards and posters were covered by the civic body in Goregaon west at 1,159, followed by 794 in Chembur and 714 in Borivali West.
All such signs are removed and will remain covered till the election concludes.
The BMC is empowered to remove illegal hoardings under the Maharashtra Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1995. Its licence department manual also states that it does not give permissions for “political banners, birthday greetings, anniversary greetings, etc on municipal roads and footpaths” as per a 2013 High Court order.
Under the MCC guidelines, the BMC is also mandated to cover all public signs, like plaques installed during inauguration of a project that bear names of political leaders.
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Under Section 328 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, the BMC provides permissions for putting up hoardings.
“Till the Model Code of Conduct is in effect, every unauthorised posters and banners will be removed. For an official hoarding, an application has to be made to the licence department of the BMC and then spots are designated,” Jitendra Bansode, joint superintendent of licence of BMC, said. Under the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1995, a violator can be fined Rs 2,000 or sent to three-month imprisonment or both. Besides, Section 328 of the MMC Act adds that an offender can be penalised in the range of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000.