Haryana government weeds out illegal hoardings

By Rohit Nautiyal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In OOH News | March 03, 2010
Within a few weeks of introducing Haryana's first outdoor policy, the authorities are cracking down hard on illegal outdoor ads

In a recent article, afaqs! reported how the Haryana cabinet met under the chairmanship of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to give its approval to the final draft of the Haryana Municipalities' Outdoor Advertising Policy, which has been prepared in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court and the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).

Nobody could have imagined that the authorities would crack down so hard on illegal hoardings - an eyesore in the skyline of Gurgaon and other areas in the state.

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Within a few weeks of the introduction of the outdoor policy, a huge number of illegal hoardings in Gurgaon have been raze to the ground by the authorities. This time, bringing down hoardings is not just limited to the temporary removal of flex but involved dismantling of the iron grills that support the ad displays. Also, all the illegal displays on the mall facades have been pulled down in adherence to the policy.

Currently, no big media owner is present in Gurgaon and most of the business takes place either by directly approaching the vendors or by involving the agencies. The recent actions are a part of the drive started by the municipality a fortnight ago to bring down illegal outdoor ads.

A senior executive from one of the leading outdoor agencies in Delhi feels that the action by the authorities is in line with streamlining the outdoor industry in Gurgaon through the tender system, wherein usually the rights for selling a particular property are awarded to a single player. This way, is also convenient for the municipal corporation as it will not have to deal with different players for the collection of revenue.

Also, a rise in the cost of media is expected. For instance, for hoardings in Gurgaon, the current rate per sq. ft is Rs 200. Once the tender system is put in place, the rates can go as high as Rs 1,000 per sq. ft.

"There is a certain amount of pressure to beautify the NCR for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in the Capital. Also, the future belongs to street furniture and advertising that goes hand in hand with infrastructure development. I hope that in the days to come, Delhi will be equally strict in dealing with the owners of illegal media," he adds.

Another vendor accuses the authorities for not sharing the policy details with the public, leading to further confusion. He feels if there is a common tender for street furniture and hoardings, then the smaller players will live on the mercy of one media owner.

According to industry estimates, Gurgaon's outdoor market churns out annual revenue of approximately Rs 50 crore.

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