The collapse of an illegal hoarding that claimed the lives of five people, leaving three others seriously injured, in the Kiwale area of Pimpri-Chinchwad in Pune has prompted the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) to order structural audits of all hoardings in the twin-city.
Advertising agencies who have been allotted space by the civic body for hoardings and owners who have installed billboards on their private property have been directed to carry out fresh structural audits in the next seven days and submit reports to the advertising department, failing which they will not only be declared illegal and pulled down, but the agency/ owner will be liable to face penal action.
Considering illegal hoardings, the actual figure could be much higher
There are a total of 166 hoardings including 110 on sites (20 ft x 20 ft) leased out by the MBMC. Besides, there are 56 huge billboards on private properties. Considering the illegal ones, the actual figure could be much higher. Most of these hoardings are adjacent to busy roads and could cause severe damage to private and public property, besides posing a serious threat to pedestrians and motorists.
Structural stability certificate
As per the standard operating procedure, for every hoarding, the 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 have not been audited.
Refuting the allegations, an official attached to the advertising wing said, “We seek audits every year in May, but this time we started the exercise early and sent out the notices on April 17 due to unpredictable weather.” It is not clear as to how many hoardings have been physically checked.
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