Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lax officials let hoardings thrive in Bangalore City

Lax officials let hoardings thrive in Bangalore City
By Basavaraj Itnaal, DH News Service, Bangalore:
Even after the revision of BMP advertisement bylaw in 2006, illegal hoardings continue to thrive in the city.

The issue came up for discussion in the Legislative Council recently and the government has ordered the Palike to not issue any fresh hoarding licences. But the hoarding operators in the city couldn’t care less. For, the Palike has always failed to pull down any hoarding erected without permission. Further, hoarding contractors easily obtain stay order from the courts but Palike fails to get them vacated.

BBMP Special Commissioner Jayram Raje Urs told Deccan Herald that the civic body will take all measures to curb the menace. He said that a special squad will be constituted to remove all hoardings, banners and buntings erected in Zone A, where no form of outdoor advertisement is allowed. “We will ask the Palike legal cell to appeal before the courts to vacate the stay, so that BBMP can get its revenue due from the hoardings,’’ he said.

However, the Palike website carries faulty records. According to the website, the bustling Gandhinagar area has merely 31 hoardings. A cursory count, however, shows the number exceeds the figure by more than three times. It’s the same story elsewhere in the city, with the civic body reporting just 27 hoardings in Jayanagar, 13 in Basavanagudi, 2 in Chamarajpet, 12 in Malleswaram and just one in Chickpet. To make the data look huge, the BMP has put the data two or three times in the ward lists.

In the past, city mayors have made much noise on the issue but it was never followed with concrete action.
In 2005, Mayor R Narayanaswami had pulled up officials for their laxity in pulling down unauthorised hoardings. His successor Mumtaz Begum though boasted of initiating action against the illegal hoardings, nothing was done. In Shivajinagar ward which Begum represented, the BBMP records only 31 hoardings.

Interestingly, the BBMP says it has not allowed any hoardings in 33 wards, which include commercial hubs like K R Market, Mathikere, Basaveshwarnagar, Cottonpet and Yeshwanthpur.

Mr Urs said that the Palike would take a relook at the situation and improve enforcement mechanism.

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