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Census to axe illegal hoardings

Hoarding census? Yes, you heard it right.

Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) is all set to carry out a census of hoardings in the state capital to target illegal billboards across the city and shore up revenues.

“I want to know whether these have been mounted in accordance with civic norms or in violation of rules like permitted size, height from the ground et al,” RMC chief executive officer (CEO) Manoj Kumar said.

He added that his chief aim was to maximise revenue and minimise risk of accidents as these billboards posed threat to people.

Kumar has entrusted two engineers for carrying out the census. They are expected to start work later in February.

Sources in RMC said that the CEO had been asking for accurate number of hoardings in the city and revenue earned through them ever since he took charge in December-end.

However, the officials failed to come up with the exact data, citing non-cooperation from the advertisement agencies.

Kumar said, “At present, we can neither confirm the number of hoardings nor the earnings as we do not have the exact figures.”

Although the RMC CEO could not come up with the actual profits, sources said that at present, the civic body earned around Rs 75 to 90 lakh annually from advertising agencies.

Officials, however, said that the rates were very old as they had been fixed almost seven years back. Going by the increased number of hoardings in the city and popularity of certain locations, the prices should be revised, they added.

“Only a detailed report on number, size, height and location of these billboards can help us take the decision to hike rates. I am sure the RMC can earn a healthy revenue through hoardings,” CEO Kumar said.

The RMC rulebook says that the advertising agencies are required to seek permission from the former to put up any kind of advertisement within the municipal area, be it on any premises.

After receiving applications, a RMC team scrutinises the site. Technical assessment of whether a hoarding could be permitted there is done and then the application is approved or rejected.