NMC doubles down on issue of hoardings
   Date :18-May-2024

issue of hoardings 
Staff Reporter
In the backdrop of Ghatkopar hoarding incident, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) authorities are seeking counsel from its legal department to remind railway authorities about the need to adhere to laid down rules for erection of hoardings within city limits. A meeting was chaired by Municipal Commissioner Dr Abhijeet Chaudhari, regarding directives from Urban Development Department (UDD), Maharashtra Government, on the issue of hoarding, where the issue about billboards put-up in various places and the extant rules was discussed threadbare. The Revenue Department had already communicated to Railways the rules governing putting up of hoarding. Still, the Commissioner directed officials to draft a proper letter after consulting legal brains and then send it to railway authorities. About 200 hoarding are put-up on railway lands and the permission for the same is granted as per the extant policy adopted by Indian Railways. Still within municipal corporation, the hoarding issue is addressed in Maharashta Municipal Corporation (MMC) Rules and as per May 9, 2002, GR, the norms about structural stability of structure are clearly specified.
Said Milind Meshram, Deputy Commissioner, Revenue, as per the MMC Rules, the sec 264 is quite clear, any building within corporation jurisdiction has to furnish structural stability report every 30-years. Similarly, the new rules as to hoarding policy also laid down that the owner seeking to put-up a billboard in corporation limit has to submit structural stability report at time of its erection and thereafter every three-years. As to city specific, the hoarding in city have been issued permission in 2021-22 and 2022-23 and hence most of them should be in order and their structure stability certificates are also being scrutinised again as a matter of abundant precaution. The current survey as per directive of State Government about hoarding is simply to cross check whether there is any violation as to display size as same plays an important role in structural stability. In past, the city had witnessed gusty winds but so far, no report of damage to any hoarding occurred at any place. He said NMC has already asked the railway authorities to ensure that the hoarding structures within their jurisdiction are as per the stipulated rules. Also, the railways were told that overall licence issuance for hoarding within city limits still vests with NMC and directed former to furnish their structural stability certificates.
The Ghatkopar incident and the collapse of a massive billboard in Pimpri Chinchwad earlier last year has again highlighted the necessity of single authority to govern the issue of permission for putting-up hoarding in public places. In both the cases, the billboards that came crashing down in aftermath of gusty winds were put-up on railway land. A dispute between Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Railways is pending before Apex Court as to whose writ would run over the hoarding within municipal corporation limits. Meanwhile, Vikas Thakre, President, Nagpur City District Congress Committee, has claimed massive violation in putting-up 400 hoarding in city as the norms laid down in Skysign and Advertisements by State Government has not been adhered to by licensee. He particularly highlighted 200 hoardings in railway land that are prone to falling down and called for its immediate removal. Thakre contended that some of the hoardings that have been put-up on railway bridges or height gauges are prone to fall down and this could prove dangerous for passers-by underneath them. Hundreds of citizens crisscross these spots daily and hence, NMC should immediately take action against such hoardings.
At many intersections, the maximum height of 40x30 mentioned for hoardings can been seen violated. Several of the advertisers have put-up one hoarding atop another which could prove dangerous, Thakre apprehended. Also, he said all the Unipole hoardings erected in city are illegal as many of them rise upto 80 feet in height. Also as per rules, only one billboard is permitted to be put-up on one structure, but at many places multiple advertisements boards are on display.
Meshram when asked about unipole said that the Rules are silent about the issue and they merely talk about keeping safe distance from the nearby road. The unipole must not hinder the movement of traffic or should not pose danger to passers-by.