As May 1, the & #BANNER1 & # date for the ban on outdoor hoardings nears, voices are gaining strength in opposing the blanket ban on hoardings visible from roads across the Capital city. Industry experts describe the move as erratic. The MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) has already filed a review order in the Delhi High Court, requesting the same bench to review the order.
Once the Delhi HC judgement is implemented, it will lead to a revenue loss in the range of Rs 150 crore per annum for MCD and a loss of Rs 180 crore per annum for the industry.
"It is not logical to have a blanket ban on hoardings. A standardized ban seems much saner," says Mandeep Malhotra, V-P, Bates David Enterprise.
Experts feel that instead of taking hoardings completely off the city roads, the government could define or standardise locations, heights and sizes of hoardings. This, they say, would reduce traffic distraction and earn revenue at the same time.
"The outdoor advertising industry is growing at a rapid pace of 13 per cent the world over, and we shouldn't let this revenue model die a slow death," says Amrit Pal, director, Adwel, the company that owns most of the rights for shelter and mobile hoardings in the city.
Looking for a middle way out, experts cite examples of other international cities that are making the most of this lucrative industry.
"More and more foreign players are entering outdoor advertising and we shouldn't discourage foreign money that may catapult this industry to a new level," adds Malhotra.
Outdoor advertising has been a bone of contention since the Supreme Court ordered MCD, NDMC, DMRC and IR to remove all hoardings that were deemed hazardous to traffic.
On March 27, the Delhi High Court, clarifying the ambiguity surrounding the Supreme Court order, passed a judgement saying, "The hazardous hoarding, which is a disturbance to safe traffic movement, has to be a hoarding visible to traffic on the road."
The Delhi High Court had given one month, beginning 27 March 2007, for the removal of all hoardings in violation of the judgement of the Supreme Court.
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