The tragic death of three innocent pedestrians due the collapse of an illegal hoarding which also left three others seriously injured in the Kiwale area of Pimpri-Chinchwad in Pune last month has failed to drill sense in the minds of advertising agents and billboard owners in the Mira Road and Bhayandar.
No response to the MBMC notice
This is evident by the fact that none of the agencies or owners have cared to respond to the notices sent by the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) directing fresh structural audits of the hoardings in the seven days and submit the report to the advertising department, failing which the structures will be declared illegal and pulled down.
The notices under the relevant sections of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, 1949 were issued last month.
The toothless notices met with a cold shoulder response as none of the advertisers responded till date.
Number of hoardings much higher than official figures
According to officials, there are a total of 166 hoardings including 110 on sites (20 feet x20 feet) leased out by the civic administration, this in addition to 56 huge billboards which have been installed on private properties. However, considering the presence of illegal ones, the actual figure could be much higher.
“We have issued fresh notices, this time with a three-day deadline and tagged with a warning of initiating action by registering criminal offences under section 304 (a) of the IPC, in the event of any disaster-related to such structures.” said advertising department in charge- Sanjay Donde.
As per the standard operating procedure, for every hoarding – be it on private or government land, the concerned advertising agency or owner has to obtain a structural stability certificate from empanelled engineers and submit to the civic body, supported with timely renewals on an annual basis. However, it has been alleged that several hoardings have not been not audited for structural stability for years.