TMC’s revised hoarding policy will not deface Thane skyline

January 11, 2020

Thane Even though Thane Municipal Corporation is formulating a policy to redesign hoardings in such a way that they do not deface the city’s skyline, it has turned a blind eye to the posters and banners defacing the city, said residents.

The three-member hoarding committee is supposed to design hoardings that do not deface roads, dividers and footpaths.

Two years ago, the corporation formulated a hoarding policy which banned installation of hoardings or banners on trees, electric poles, signal poles, telephone poles, footpaths and road dividers. Residents said this has been flouted.

At present, the civic body gives permission to hoarding as per the Government Resolution of 2003 on hoardings and banners. The anti-encroachment department claimed that the policy was pertaining to permissions, fines and commercial aspect of hoardings.

Ashok Burpulle, deputy municipal commissioner, said, “The new policy will be different from the old one — it will pertain to aesthetics. The civic commissioner has asked to redesign the hoardings keeping street furniture in mind. The narrow roads will have hoardings proportional to the size while the wider roads can have big hoardings.”

The policy will also decide the positioning of hoardings. “The positioning of the hoardings will be such that it will not deface the city. The width and height will be decided so that they do not block the motorists’ vision.”

The city has around 450 hoardings; in most cases there are multiple hoardings on one building, so around 218 structures in the city have 450 hoardings.

While the corporation is working on this ambitious policy, it has ignored the illegal banners and posters put up throughout the city after the formation of the new government. From roads, footpaths to dividers, the city is strewn with political banners congratulating the newly appointed ministers.

Thane-based activist Pradeep Indulkar has drafted a letter to the corporation demanding speedy redressal of complaints filed against these hoardings. He said, “TMC has failed to implement hoarding and banner policy chalked out two years ago. TMC had launched a WhatsApp number to lodge complaints.”

“However, when we message on the number, TMC enters the complaint in a set format, prints it out and then it keeps on going from one department to another. Around a week goes by till it reaches the officer concerned by then the banner is pulled down. We get a reply that there was no banner at the spot.”

He said the purpose of a WhatsApp complaint number is lost. He expressed that the new committee should include residents too.

“Officers rarely take action against hoardings. It is the residents who complain about them. Moreover as per the hoarding policy, an FIR is supposed to be registered against illegal hoardings. But, the corporation registers an FIR only when the person fails to pay the fine,” said Indulkar.

Another activist Rajeev Dutta said, “Most trees along the roads have ugly banners. This is against the hoarding policy, while they also damage the tree. TMC should first pull down illegal banners and posters and then implement a new policy.”

The civic officials said they have pulled down around 12,880 hoardings since 2017 while cases have being registered against 202 people so far.

A civic official said, “Till February 2019, we have pulled down 12,880 hoardings, banners and posters, wherein around 7,620 were pulled down only in Mumbra. We have collected fines in two wards in the past three years.”

He added that they have pulled down around 14,079 hoardings, banners and posters from 2017 till May 2019 and have registered cases against 221 people.

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