Mumbai is all set to get a facelift worth Rs1,700 crore under the BMC's beautification programme. However, the menace of illegal hoardings appears as a blot on the landscape. A total of 16,360 unwarranted displays were pulled down across the city in 2022.
Maximum hoarding religious
As per the official data from the BMC's License Department, 9,719 of these hoardings were religious in nature, 4,823 political and 1,818 commercial. Prime locations such as Colaba, Ghatkopar, Dadar, Bandra and Mulund were among the most defaced areas.
Action against hoardings
Notably, first information reports (FIRs) were registered in just 164 cases which is 1% of 16,360, while 884 police complaints were made and court doors were knocked in 961 cases. Despite being reprimanded several times by the Bombay High Court, the BMC has, so far, failed to come up with a policy against illegal hoardings.
“We have a ward-wise team of the License Department to take a round in the ward and immediately pull down the illegal hoardings. But the illegal hoardings and banners are mostly erected at night time by political workers. It's the duty of the police to keep a vigil and directly register an FIR against them. We remove the banners, take their pictures and complain against the person whose name is on it under the Defacement Act. Also a case is filed against illegal commercial hoarding in the Metropolitan Magistrate court which can levy a fine of Rs5,000,” said a senior civic official.
The police complaints are filed under the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1995 – which has provisions of Rs2,000 fine or three-month imprisonment or both. Under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, an offender can also be fined between Rs1,000 and Rs5,000 for installing illegal hoardings.
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