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Equal treatment is a fair demand, call out Bengaluru outdoor media owners reeling under the ban

By Rajiv Raghunath - June 08, 2021

If hoardings could be permitted atop public conveniences, then why there is a restraint on 1,800 legal hoardings, ask media owners who are speaking in one voice to ‘Save Outdoor Advertising Industry Bangalore’

Even as outdoor media owners in Bengaluru anxiously await the introduction of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Advertisement Rules, 2019 that is pending approval in the Urban Development Department of Karnataka Government, they are questioning the rationale of the permissions granted by the civic authorities to various media operators for putting up hoardings atop public conveniences adjacent to skywalks.

The new ad rules had been drafted with the express purpose of aligning the governing norms to the changing dynamics of outdoor advertising, for which the BBMP advertisement Bye-law 2006 or any other bye-law were found to be inadequate.

Permissions for putting up hoardings atop public conveniences had been given along with the advertising rights granted in lieu of construction and maintenance of skywalks within the jurisdiction of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Media owners who are acutely impacted by the ban on outdoor advertising in the city -- that has now extended well beyond 1,000 days -- are asking why the BBMP chose to grant permission for installation of hoardings on the public conveniences whereas those holding legal hoardings on private land have been denied the same. Restraint on advertising on hoardings have been applied by the authorities citing that permission will be granted to them only after the new ad rules for outdoor advertising are released by the state government.

Pertinent to note that the High Court had deemed some 1,800 hoardings in the BBMP area as legal, which could have continued to be in business – in consonance with the 2006 bylaws -- until the new bylaws were introduced.

Media owners who are now volubly voicing their concerns to ‘Save Outdoor Advertising Industry Bangalore’ are also questioning why the civic authorities have allowed the skywalk projects and public conveniences developed in the PPP mode to encroach pedestrian walkways. In their view, those structures may not fully comply with the traffic safety norms and norms governing pedestrian safety.

On a different tack, this group of media owners are also pointing to the haphazard manner in which bus shelters were permitted to be put up in lieu of advertising rights, whereby some of those shelters have been put up where hardly any bus stops. The distance between the shelters also seem to be randomly planned, they point out, a matter which has also been reported earlier in mainline dailies.

As each new day adds to the financial distress of over 150 OOH enterprises, and 50,000+ people who directly or indirectly depended on OOH operations in the city for their livelihood, their outcry for justice has assumed a high decibel.


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