A day after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced its policy to curb the number of hoardings in the city, ruling parties in the BMC – the Shiv Sena and BJP – have opposed the move.
The BMC has decided to implement a total ban on promotional activities on terraces of old structures.
While the BJP said there would be a revenue loss if the policy was implemented, the largest party in the civic body – Shiv Sena – rued that the municipal commissioner did not take party chiefs into confidence before taking a decision.
The Shiv Sena said the policy would hit the business community of Mumbai. However, Dr Anahaita Pundole, who has been waging a legal battle against putting up hoardings, has welcomed the new policy. She said many trees were cut by hoarding contractors so that they do not block the hoardings.
“This is criminal. We should not let anyone reduce Mumbai’s green cover,’’ she added.
On Wednesday, additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani had said no hoarding would be permitted on top of buildings, which are more than 30 years old. He said the existing licences for hoardings on top of such buildings would not be renewed.
The civic body has also increased the distance between two hoardings from 20m to 100m.
Besides, displaying hoardings at places of worship will not be allowed. Mayor Sunil Prabhu of the Shiv Sena said the policy should have been forwarded to the general body for discussion before its implementation.
BJP’s group leader Dilip Patel claimed that the policy will also hit civic coffers. “Last year, we earned a revenue of Rs88 crore – it will dip to one fifth if the policy is executed. Besides, hoardings reflect the lifestyle of Mumbai. We will stop reflecting that if the new policy is implemented,” Patel said.
The NCP, though in opposition, has backed the ruling parties over the issue. “The civic body should not shrink its sources of revenues. Hoardings should be permitted as per the prevailing norms if it doesn’t cause inconvenience to residents,” Dhananjay Pisal, NCP’s group leader, said.
Opposition leader Devendra Amberkar (Congress) and MNS’s group leader Sandeep Deshpande though have come in support of the policy. “We all know hoardings on building terraces affect the structures, especially those above 30 years. Besides defacing the city’s skyline, they block airflow into the house. Hence, we welcome the policy in the larger public interest,” Amberkar said.
Deshpande said the policy will serve the larger public interest if the civic body ensures proper implementation. “I get to see hoardings at every 10feet in my ward. So, the corporation will have to be strict in implementing the norms,” he added.
A circular will be issued soon and will be applicable to 35,079 structures in the city. At present, 630 buildings in the city have hoardings erected atop them.
Flouting rules, earning money
35,079 Number of city buildings which are over 30 years old
630 Number of buildings atop which hoardings have been permitted
1,750 Number of total hoardings allowed