The Bombay High Court recently sought the Maharashtra Government’s response on ways to remove illegal hoarding and banners that keep reappearing. According to the BMC’s data, 28,677 illegal hoardings have been removed across the city in the last one and half years. Between January 1, 2021, to July 31, 2022, data shows that about 1,624 police complaints have been filed and 31 FIRs have been registered, and 775 cases are being prosecuted against illegal hoardings in the city.
The BMC’s license department pulled down the illegal banners, posters, boards, cutouts of advertisements, birthday wishes, or festive greetings mostly put up by political parties.
“Many times political party workers put illegal hoardings defacing chowks, signals and junctions. The civic team taking action on the hoardings also has to sometimes face their anger,” said a civic official. A ward-wise team of license department removes total of 15,000 to 20,000 illegal hoardings on average, he added.
This year from January to July, 11,840 hoardings and banners were removed by the civic team. Among these, 6,308 were religious banners, while 3,523 hoardings were of political parties. In a special drive undertaken by the BMC for 10 days in August, the corporation managed to remove 1,693 hoardings and banners in the city.
The police complaints have been filed under the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1995, which states that a person can be fined Rs 2,000 or face three-month imprisonment, or both for the act.
An offender can also be penalised under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act and fined between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 for installing illegal hoardings or posters in the city.