Axe falls on rooftop billboards

House owners, who have allowed space on their rooftops to advertisers to install hoardings, beware!

By Our Correspondent
  • Published 13.09.18
Hoardings on a building at Ashok Nagar and (below) a structure without hoardings after a BMC drive in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati and Telegraph picture

Bhubaneswar: House owners, who have allowed space on their rooftops to advertisers to install hoardings, beware!

Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) is going to collect holding tax at commercial rates from house owners, who have allowed advertisers to illegally install rooftop hoardings on their buildings.

While rooftop hoardings have been declared illegal within the jurisdiction of the civic body, they also contribute to cluttering the city skyline.

The BMC on Wednesday began removing rooftop hoardings installed on buildings. A team led by zonal deputy commissioner (north zone) on Wednesday removed 13 rooftop hoardings from houses Chandrasekharpur.

Deputy commissioner (revenue) Srimanta Mishra said that according to the 2006 Advertisement Rules of the state government, the municipal commissioner is empowered to remove any unauthorised advertisements from the city. As rooftop hoardings have been declared unauthorised and illegal from April, they would be removed, he said.

The move aims to do away with cluttered, uncontrolled and haphazard display of advertisements on rooftops.

These hoardings also make the buildings vulnerable in the event of natural calamities such as cyclonic winds and thunderstorms.

There had been incidents in the past in which rooftop hoardings had caused damage to public property and lives. Incidents of hoardings falling at Kalpana Square and Palaspalli due to strong winds are still fresh in public memory.

Bibhu Ranjan Giri, who is a structural engineer empanelled with the Bhubaneswar Development Authority, said: "The huge hoardings always pose a safety threat to the structures and especially to passers-by and vehicles plying on the stretch. The skyline also gets cluttered because of these hoardings.''

The civic authorities have on Wednesday asked all the zonal deputy commissioners to make an assessment of holding tax of houses or structures that have rooftop hoardings. They have been given a list of such buildings along 16 stretches, covering a 40km priority corridor across the city.

The civic body will continue its drive to bring down rooftop hoarding in all other zones of the city, said a BMC source. This is not for the first time that the BMC has decided to crack the whip of rooftop hoardings.

In November 2016, the BMC had decided to remove illegal hoardings, but the civic body lost steam after a while.