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Updated: January 8, 2013 00:58 IST

Illegal hoardings block city’s sight

Special Correspondent
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The GHMC is still struggling to deal with illegally erected hoardings

It has been two years since the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) placed a ban on erecting hoardings or unipoles. However, the GHMC is still struggling to deal with illegally erected hoardings.

Officially, the Corporation has identified as many as 129 illegal hoardings, which help agencies earn lakhs without paying a single rupee to the civic body in terms of advertisement tax or fee. In recent days, GHMC has managed to remove 95 of them after ensuring that the agencies which erected them have no political masters backing them, senior officials confess.

They also claim that there could be another 60-plus hoardings doting the capital’s sky-scape, and they too will be removed gradually. The hoardings connected to political bigwigs are likely to be the last to be removed because at times it is the advertising wing that gets more calls for ‘non-interference’ than even the town planning wing!

Officials say that the number of hoardings could be about 2,600 and that of unipoles, about 184. Once the corporators decided to queer the pitch, especially with regard to indiscriminate permission given during the special commissioners’ administration, little more than 400 hoardings were removed.

Some of them were even found to be displaying fake advertisement identification numbers, thanks to an overenthusiastic advertisement officer who was on deputation and was sent packing once the skeletons started tumbling out of the closet.

Taking GHMC’s permission is necessary for any hoarding or unipole, irrespective of whether they were erected in public or private spaces or even inside government offices. Most hoardings, legal or otherwise, are said to be in the core city of the erstwhile MCH, senior officials say.

The civic body is also looking forward to the draft advertisement policy being prepared by the Government. It will be adopted once the modalities are finalised. “More hoardings will be pulled down once the policy comes into force as there are clear-cut rules about sizes, space between two hoardings and the ‘no go’ locations,” officials affirmed.

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