Ad policy still only on paper

Hoardings at Dolamundai Chhak in Cuttack. Picture by Badrika Nath Das

Cuttack: The civic body is yet to implement the Odisha Advertisement and Hoarding Policy, 2015, which the state government had put into effect two-and-a-half years ago.

Officials of the Cuttack Municipal Corporation conceded that the act implementation had been delayed due to failure in tackling the menace of unauthorised billboards and hoardings that continued to thrive without the payment of tariff. Though they are pulled down in periodic intervals, numerous others come up again, making it difficult to detect the unauthorised hoardings across the city, said an official.

The state government rolled out the new rule through a gazette notification on January 21, 2016. It prohibits location of billboards at major intersections, bends and curves and hoardings or advertisement boards that hinder the effectiveness of a traffic control system such as traffic light, stop or give-way signs considering them as hazardous. It also prescribes the distance between two advertisements to be not less than 100 metres on the main city roads and highways.

But the corporation is still far from implementing the rules. Municipal commissioner Bikash Ranjan Mohapatra on Thursday said the process for implementing the new advertisement policy was under way.

"To pave way for implementing it, we had decided to reorganise outdoor advertisements and hoardings by roping in a private party to manage them and check the unauthorised hoardings," Mohapatra said. "For that, tenders to be invited are under drafting process, and to complete the process we require time."

The policy prescribes for the civic body to declare as no advertisement zones "in front of / inside the compound wall of / on the walls of" buildings of archaeological, architectural, aesthetical and historical or heritage importance. Same status is prescribed for places of worship and religious significance, statues, minarets, educational institutions, cremation grounds, hospitals, nursing homes, police stations, post offices, trees and water bodies.


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