Soon, QR code system to track & curb illegal ad hoardings

Kolkata: Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will soon come up with coding system for effective tracking of advertisement hoardings and putting a leash on illegal advertisements mushrooming indiscriminately.

"It is true that illegal hoardings have come up in the city without seeking permission. So, we will soon introduce QR codes in such advertisements hoardings. We will not allow any hoarding in the city without our approval. We are coming up with a hoarding policy to curb illegal advertisements and visual pollution and an entity be it government or private will have to put up hoardings in adherence to this policy," Mayor Firhad Hakim said.

It is mandatory to take the nod of KMC for installing any advertisement hoardings in the city, but due to some legal complexities in the rules, a number of companies would illegally put up advertisements depriving the KMC of its revenue share.

"We are coming up with an amendment in this issue which will empower us to take strong measures against illegal advertisements. The amendment has already been sent to the state Assembly for its nod," a senior official of KMC's Advertisement department said.

The official informed that KMC's Law department has already passed its hoarding policy and the draft of the same will be published soon eliciting opinion within a month from all concerned in this regard.

The Advertisement department which had started a crackdown on illegal hoardings or flexes in the city from the middle of 2021 had initially targeted those agencies whose due had crossed Rs 5 lakh mark. Many advertisement hoardings have been cut down for non -payment or similar irregularities.

The defaulting agencies have started coughing up their pending advertisement fees and more than 1 lakh square feet area where illegal hoardings of flexes were installed have been recovered. The civic body expects that another 1 lakh square metre area may be recovered soon. KMC had introduced waiver scheme in advertisements amidst the pandemic in the year 2020 and 100 per cent remission in advertisement fees was allowed from April till June 2020 which was followed with 75 per cent waiver for some months and again with 50 per cent remission for some months.

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