Citizens welcome the new advertisement policy

Citizens welcome the new advertisement policy

Hoardings illustration revised

Every year, as the festive season approaches, the city’s skyline gets crowded with flexes and banners announcing the season’s greetings from various political parties. These banners are put up haphazardly, blocking footpaths in crowded locations.

But this year may just be different if the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) succeeds in its stated objective of ridding the city’s skylines of hoardings with new laws it plans to implement.

With the civic body bringing out the draft BBMP Outdoor Signage and Public Messaging Byelaws, 2018, the city’s residents are definitely a happy lot, having battled with these eyesores for years now. “You will not find such hoardings in any of the world-class cities. They not only make the city look shabby but also diverts people’s attention,” says Rajesh Dangi, a member of I Change Indiranagar.

To prevent them from becoming distractions for motorists, residents suggest that the BBMP should identify certain locations in the city suitable for placing the hoardings.

“These ads should not be placed on footpaths, roads or at traffic islands where they can distract drivers. The civic body needs to identify good locations and then maintain them well. At the same time, the use of flex banners also needs to be stopped,” says Deepak Bhatia, President of Church Street Traders Association.

Ashok Sharad, a member of Defence Colony Residents Association, terms it a knee-jerk reaction to the Karnataka High Court’s order directing the civic body to make a draft to make the city free of flexes and banners. But he still welcomes the move.

“These outdoor advertisements can be termed ‘organised graffiti’ as they ruin the city’s aesthetics. These political flexes serve no purpose and are often found on the pavements or obstruct the right of way. They violate every law in a bid to put up their faces on a banner. While it will be great to rid the city of these flexes, the BBMP has gone a step ahead to ban all hoardings in the city,” he says.

The new policy has also set guidelines for lighting on these outdoor advertisements. However, residents feel that the civic body also needs to define a timing within which the use of light is allowed.

“Front lit hoardings cause light leakage and affects people’s sleep. It also has a negative impact on the environment and on nocturnal creatures. While hoardings form an important means of communication for businesses they also need to look into how they can minimise its negative impact,” Sharad adds.

Residents suggest that the civic body should instead move to digital display for advertising. “People can buy slots for a certain duration on digital display boards. And they can do away with advertising agencies and lead the show themselves. It will work as an excellent revenue model,” opines Vignan Gowda, a resident of Sanjaynagar and member of Citizens for Sustainability.

Dangi also suggests that the BBMP should transcend to the digital era. “Outdoor advertising on banners and hoardings should be banned and instead, be displayed inside public buses and metros,” he says.
The policy, he feels, should not allow advertising on bus shelters and skywalks as well. “It defeats the purpose of the policy. It may be to protect somebody’s contract. But then there will be no end to exceptions,” says Dangi.

With political and cinema posters making it to almost every wall in the city, the implementation of such a policy seems a herculean task. Dangi suggests that criminal cases should be filed against political and private parties who violate the law. “It is a crime to deface public property. If no serious action is taken there is no point in making policies,” he contends.


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