Govt dilutes BBMP's draft bylaw on outdoor ads

Govt dilutes BBMP's draft bylaw on outdoor ads

The July 15 notification from UDD seeks objections or suggestions to the measures, which make a departure from the BBMP’s proposals to curb the menace of hoardings.

Three days after the high court stayed BBMP's resolution banning outdoor advertisements, the Urban Development Department (UDD) notified the draft bylaw diluting the steps proposed by the civic body last year.

The July 15 notification from UDD seeks objections or suggestions to the measures, which make a departure from the BBMP’s proposals to curb the menace of hoardings.

The original draft published by the BBMP in September 2018 began with the intent of regulating advertisements to protect the aesthetics of society. ‘Intent’, the first section of the draft, stated that the objective of the bylaw was to “prevent all commercial billboards and hoardings on public right of ways and to establish a comprehensive system” to control the advertisements.

The final draft by the UDD, however, limits the prohibition to places which “open to the view of traffic”, which allows officials to overturn the original intention. “This means officials can make a decision of the roads where advertisements can be allowed, as the summary prohibition has disappeared from the final draft,” an official said.

The latest draft has also excluded the measure proposed by the BBMP to prohibit “usage of materials for signage and advertisement display which are harmful to the environment”.

At a time when the civic body has come under pressure to regulate plastic usage in the city by implementing the ban on some of the materials, permitting flexes and banners to be printed on plastic is likely to worsen the situation.

The latest draft provides for setting up of an advertisement regulatory committee that can act as an appellate authority when advertisers challenge the decision taken by the BBMP commissioner and the revenue officer.

Existing hoardings that do not conform to standards set by the new rules will get a grace period of two years to comply with the rules, the draft says. However, exemption has been made for advertisements on bus shelters, pedestrian bridges, skywalks and underpasses.