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Over 3,000 illegal hoardings cleared from the city in three months

With civic polls barely a few months away, political parties seem to have made the most of the festive season to woo voters by putting up illegal hoardings and banners across the city. Since August, when the festive season began with Ganeshotsav, civic licence department staffers have pulled down 3,334 illegal posters, banners and flags of which 2,265 (68%) had been put up by politicians. The remaining 1,069 were religious or commercial hoardings.

During this three-month period, the BMC filed 50 FIRs against those who had put up the illegal hoardings that were defacing the city.

The Bombay high court had directed all municipal corporations to conduct a special drive to remove all illegal hoardings before January 26, 2016. In February, the HC had directed 14 BJP workers and an MNS worker to pay around Rs 3 lakh for violating its order.

Deputy superintendent of the civic licence department Siddharth Bansode said they are looking forward to the final HC order on the illegal hoarding PIL. “There is always an increase in the number of illegal posters and banners during the festive season. But we always continue with our action against them,” he added.

This year, till October, civic staffers have pulled down 13,090 illegal hoardings, banners and posters.

 Activist Ashok Ravat alleged a nexus between local politicos and BMC officers. “Often, the illegal posters and banners are removed after the event is over and hence, serves the purpose for both the neta and the civic staff who are expected to take action. This Ganeshotsav, many political parties had sponsored events and put up hoardings with their party messages. This is no surprise with BMC elections barely a few months away,” said Ravat.

 NGO AGNI trustee and activist Shyama Kulkarni said during Ganeshotsav and Dusshera, political parties decorated arches at pandals with political messages. “These arches were so huge that people had no place to walk on the pavements. Civic officials often do not act under pressure of local politicians,” claimed Kulkarni.

 Activist Rajkumar Sharma said, “Political parties even place their flags on signals and crossings which pose a danger as they could fall on passing vehicles and cause accidents. Many politicians have even gone to the extent of putting up permanent structures with their names engraved on them.”



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