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Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC)

Space out hoardings, says Firhad Hakim

Mayor wants KMC advertisement policy to be ‘scientific’

Subhajoy Roy | Published 19.03.23, 03:33 AM
Hoardings at the crossing of Mallikbazar and Park Street and (right) along the Parama flyover on Saturday

Hoardings at the crossing of Mallikbazar and Park Street and (right) along the Parama flyover on Saturday

Pictures by Gautam Bose

Reduce number of hoardings and increase space between them, mayor Firhad Hakim has told officials of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) while suggesting tweaks to the civic body’s draft advertisement policy.

Hakim said on Saturday he was not happy with the draft advertisement policy prepared by the civic body and wanted it to be more “scientific”.


A senior KMC official said Hakim wants an option in the final policy that would allow the civic body to convert a road into a no-advertising zone.

“I am not happy with the (draft) advertisement policy. I have suggested some changes. If you travel along the roads in Kolkata, there are hoardings one after another and very close to each other,” said Hakim.

“So many hoardings so close to each other do not allow someone sitting in a moving vehicle to register their contents,” he said.

“I have told the officials to make the entire thing more scientific. The municipal commissioner is leading the effort.”

The current positioning of hoardings on a street is not very “scientific”, the mayor said.

He said the KMC allowed a large hoarding for a premium and then suddenly allowed many smaller ones surrounding the larger one. If someone is paying a premium for a hoarding, the KMC has to offer them value for money, Hakim said.

The KMC’s budget for 2023- 24, presented on Friday, has set a steep target for revenue collection from the advertisement department. While the estimate for receipts from advertisements was Rs 22.26 crore in 2022-23, for 2023-24 the amount has been raised to Rs 100 crore.

The Telegraph reported in July last year that the draft advertisement policy — which had been published by then — reduced the minimum gap between two hoardings from 16ft to 8.2ft.

The 16ft gap between two hoardings was mandated by the advertisement policy framed in 2009. Architects, urban designers and residents had expressed apprehension about whether the reduction would make the city more cluttered.

It was not immediately clear on Saturday whether Hakim had specifically spoken against the reduction in the gap. A KMC official said no discussion on the gap between two hoardings had taken place.

The unending queue of hoardings and billboards, including the ones put up without any permission, is ubiquitous in Kolkata. The civic body has for long spoken about tough action against unauthorised hoardings but hardly anything has changed. 

A KMC official said on Saturday that Hakim wants to empower the civic body to declare any road, even the ones that now have many hoardings, a no-advertising zone.

“The municipal authorities in Mumbai give a window to those with hoardings on those streets to wind up. We are also planning a limited period by which the owners of the hoarding should wind up. We will not ask them to remove hoardings overnight,” said the official.

If a road is declared a no-advertising zone, all hoardings hanging from buildings will have to be removed, too. Road signage and select public announcements will be allowed.

Last updated on 19.03.23, 03:33 AM

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