Wednesday, July 07, 2010

This is no ad for Bengaluru

This is no ad for Bengaluru
Bengaluru


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Illegal advertisement hoardings have sprung up in the unlikeliest of places in Bengaluru including near the BBMP head office.

Is the indifference of the authorities in enforcing advertise- ment bylaws making matters worse? The civic body seems to be unable to plug the revenue leak. But where is all the money going, ask Chandrashekar G. and Amit S. Upadhye.

WHAT THE NORMS SAY A zone: No hoardings are allowed in areas surrounding Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha which are classified as A zone.
B zone: Only 12ft X 24ft or 15ft X 30ft hoardings are permitted.

C zone: Only 20ft X 40 ft hoardings are permitted.

D zone: Can house hoardings of any size.

Advertisements must be displayed at least 30 metres from a circle.

In a Ben galuru growing steadily crowded, every little space, be it on the sidewalks or atop buildings, is precious and needs to be used with care.
When advertisement hoardings begin to pop up in the unlikeliest of places, distracting motorists and causing visual pollution, as rightly pointed out by a city think-tank committee in its report nearly 15 years ago, it is obviously time to take action.

Although the committee was harsh in its verdict on the mushrooming of hoardings in the city as long ago as the mid-nineties, it has made no difference as the authorities don't seem to have been listening. In fact in the years since the number of hoardings has almost doubled in the city, several of them having sprung up illegally while BBMP has looked on benignly.

Many on the road admit to finding the new digital 3D hoardings a distraction and feel the huge advertisements displayed on buses too can be a reason for accidents as they draw the attention of motorists at traffic junctions or even while on the move. Occasionally, the city is flooded with hundreds of political hoardings in the run-up to rallies, much to the discomfort of commuters and pedestrians who find they take up room on pavements.

"There is no accountablity for the thousands of hoardings that have come up in the city. Many are still standing although they have received no renewal of the permission granted to them when they first came up. Some `no-parking' boards displayed by homes in the city outside their gates carry company advertisements. The problem is that BBMP has no data on how many hoardings have come up with its permission and how many are unauthorised,” says traffic advisor to the government Prof. M.N. Srihari.
Opposition leader in the BBMP council M. Nagaraj says the civic agency is losing huge revenue due to its failure to regulate the display of advertisement hoardings in the city. He feels BBMP is apathetic in enforcing the advertisement bylaws revised in 2006 to curb display of unauthorised hoardings. The Opposition leader estimates Bengaluru has some 5,000 unauthorised hoardings and claims some of them can even be found around the BBMP head office at NR Square, near Hudson Circle.

Some advertisement agencies are accused of getting stay orders from the courts on various pretexts to avoid paying BBMP for the hoardings they install around the city and of getting away with it due to their “contacts” in the BBMP legal cell. BBMP watchers are not surprised that it fell far short of the Rs 100 crore revenue it wanted to mobilise from advertisements in 2009-10, given the circumstances.

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