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BMC formulates new draft policy for hoardings in Mumbai

By Sakshi Sanghavi - June 13, 2024

The policy is set to be open for public suggestions from July 5

In the wake of the tragic Ghatkopar hoarding collapse last month, which resulted in 17 deaths and 75 injuries, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has introduced a new draft policy to regulate hoardings in Mumbai. This policy, set to be available for public suggestions and objections from July 5, aims to address several critical issues, including structural stability and environmental concerns related to digital hoardings. Comprehensive reports by Times of India laid down the following points:

Enhancing structural stability

One of the key aspects of the new policy is a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) focusing on the structural stability and foundation of hoardings. While the previous policy from 2016 required a structural stability certificate from an empanelled consultant, the new draft will delve deeper into this area. 

Addressing light pollution 

The BMC is also taking steps to mitigate light pollution caused by digital hoardings, a significant concern for many Mumbai residents. At present, the city has 1,027 hoardings, with 67 already digitised and numerous applications pending for conversion. Reports say that complaints from citizens and motorists about the distracting and intrusive nature of these digital displays have prompted the BMC to propose restrictions on their placement, particularly in residential areas. 

To combat light pollution, the BMC has mandated that digital hoardings be switched off by 11 PM. A special squad will enforce this rule, and licences of non-compliant hoardings may be cancelled.

Expanding advertising avenues

The new draft policy will also explore advertising on moving vehicles and water bodies. Floating advertisements, often seen on Mumbai’s coastline using floatels, are a growing trend that the BMC plans to regulate. Permissions for such advertisements will be carefully considered to balance commercial interests with public safety and environmental concerns.

Comprehensive consultation and expert input

The BMC has sought expertise from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B), and Rakesh Kumar, former director of the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), to aid in the policy’s formulation. A committee, including IIT-B and environmental experts, the joint commissioner of police, and civic officers, has been established to develop guidelines that balance aesthetic, economic, and regulatory aspects of outdoor advertising.

Public involvement and future steps

Once the draft policy is made public, citizens will have the opportunity to provide suggestions and objections, ensuring community involvement in shaping the final regulations. This policy revision is part of a broader effort to ensure the safety, sustainability, and aesthetic integrity of Mumbai’s urban landscape.

The BMC’s proactive approach in drafting a new policy for hoardings is a significant step towards preventing future tragedies and addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by outdoor advertising. By focusing on structural integrity, environmental concerns, and innovative advertising methods, the BMC aims to create a safer and more visually appealing Mumbai.

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