In response to a surge in fatal accidents and a growing chorus of complaints regarding obstructive banners and hoardings affecting road safety, the Vasai-Virar City Municipal Corporation (VVCMC) has initiated a comprehensive survey to address the issue. Their findings have revealed a shocking reality: out of the 30,000 hoardings scattered across the region, only 335 have been officially authorized.

The traffic police officials have identified these hoardings, predominantly serving as advertisements and promotional platforms, as the culprits behind numerous accidents. These towering advertisements tend to obscure vital traffic signals and distract drivers, resulting in a precarious driving environment. The traffic police, last week, penned a letter to VVCMC, imploring them to dismantle these obstructive hoardings, as they significantly hinder a driver’s visibility of signals and oncoming vehicles, thereby jeopardizing lives.

A traffic police officer emphasized, “We’ve received numerous grievances from motorists about hoardings impairing their vision. Subsequently, we conducted a survey and uncovered that, in several instances, these banners had been erected without the essential No Objection Certificate (NOC) from our department.”

To put up a banner legally, one must obtain both permission from VVCMC and an NOC from the traffic department. The gravity of the issue isn’t confined to road safety alone; it’s also resulting in significant financial losses for the government. Expressing his concern, Palghar MP Rajendra Gavit stated, “These unlawful hoardings pose not only a peril to motorists but also impose a substantial burden on the government. I will communicate with VVCMC to urge swift action against these unauthorized hoardings.”

Employees of the civic body disclosed that in 2009, when the municipal corporation came into existence, there was no specific department responsible for granting permissions for hoardings. However, in the past two years, a dedicated department overseeing hoardings was established, which granted approval to a mere 335 individuals. In 2023, VVCMC initiated a campaign to dismantle these illegal hoardings, though the effort was hampered by the rainy season.

Sangratna Khillare, deputy municipal commissioner, affirmed their commitment to resuming the drive and dismantling all unlawful hoardings. “We are resolute in our determination to take strict measures against those responsible for these illegal hoardings,” she assured.