Hoarding Safety: Sky sign officials under scrutiny for ignoring compliance orders

The commissioner had instructed that each regional office must submit a detailed report of the hoardings in their jurisdiction. Despite the order, no reports have been received, raising questions about the next steps the commissioner will take.
File photo of hoarding collapse in Pune
File photo of hoarding collapse in Pune

Pune: Sky sign department officials of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) are under scrutiny after they have royally ignored PMC Commissioner Dr. Rajendra Bhosale’s directive to photograph all hoardings in the city and submit a report within eight days.

The commissioner had instructed that each regional office must submit a detailed report of the hoardings in their jurisdiction. Despite the order, no reports have been received, raising questions about the next steps the commissioner will take.

Following a hoarding collapse in Ghatkopar, PMC had intensified actions against illegal hoardings. Initially, the crackdown slowed, but renewed efforts began after organizations pointed out improper permit approvals. Additional Commissioner Prithviraj B.P. had his staff photographed hoardings and compiled a report, which revealed many were unauthorized.

In a recent meeting with sky sign inspectors, the administration scrutinized the issuance of permits for these illegal hoardings. Notices were issued to 153 unauthorized hoardings. Despite clear warnings from Dr. Bhosale about potential suspensions for non-compliance, the inspectors have yet to produce the required reports. This non-compliance is being closely monitored, and further action from the commissioner is anticipated.

Currently, there are 2,598 hoardings in Pune city with municipal permits. However, numerous hoardings are erected at intersections, on roads, and even multiple hoardings on a single building, many in violation of regulations.

Regional ward offices handle new hoarding permits and renewals, with the sky sign and license department only setting policies. However, reports indicate that assistant commissioners and zonal deputy commissioners are not adhering to regulations when issuing permits, contributing to an increase in accidents.

Due to the lack of improvements despite decentralized authority, there is now a possibility that the power to issue hoarding permits may be transferred to the deputy commissioner, the sky sign department, or directly to the additional commissioner.

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