Hoardings won’t clutter B‘luru skyline anymore

BENGALURU: The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Tuesday approved the ‘Outdoor Signage and Public Messaging Policy – 2018’, a new that places a blanket ban on all commercial within limits.

However, areas like and other pedestrian-only shopping streets, or high-value landmark centres developed by the government or BBMP, may escape this as exemption at such predefined locations will be “evaluated, approved and regulated by a review committee specifically appointed for this”.

Also, the prohibition does not include signs placed on public transit stations, bikesharing stations or car-share facilities, when such signs are placed by sponsors of such facilities, or at skywalks and bus shelters where private parties have invested money in exchange for advertising rights.

Besides, other signage, banners and different kinds of advertising will be permitted as per the new bylaws, which were approved by the council on Tuesday (see graphic).

The policy also puts in place detailed administration and regulation guidelines for the Palike to manage the permitted signage. It clearly defines the areas or properties that can host the signage, the height, type of content and other aspects of advertising, among other things. Advertisers can soon avail of the copy of new bylaws and policy.

First, BBMP will submit the policy to the Karnataka high court by August 31. The civic body has been under criticism for allowing unregulated hoardings in the city, and a case pertaining to this is going on in the high court.

“We will have a month-long public consultation process before sending the policy to the state government for ratification,” BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said.

Earlier, the Palike had demarcated the city into four zones, and allowed different kinds of hoardings in each of these zones, as per its policy in 2006. Those who had violated the norms attracted punishment. The new policy retains the same punishment: Rs 1 lakh in fine and up to six months imprisonment.

The opposition, however, demanded that several of these exemptions be dropped. “The exceptions for self-advertisement, hoardings or signs in shopping districts and pedestrian-only streets must also be done away with, as this will lead to increased use of flex boards, posters and banners, and defeat the very purpose,” leader of opposition in the council Padmanabha Reddy said. Rajarajeshwarinagar MLA N Munirathna, who is also a film producer, demanded that BBMP identify specific areas to display movie posters.

Bengaluru mayor Sampath Raj said the Palike would take these demands into consideration before sending the policy to the state government.
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