Pune: Coaching Academy Misuses Single Hoarding License for Multiple Advertisements In PCMC

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Reported By Varad Bhatkhande

Pimpri Chinchwad, 29th May 2024: An incident has surfaced in Pimpri Chinchwad involving the misuse of a license for erecting advertisement hoardings. The license, granted for a specific location, has been utilized to install hoardings in multiple areas across the city. A coaching academy operator, authorized to place a hoarding in Talawade Chowk, has extended advertisements to various locations under the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), including Nigdi and Rupee Nagar. In response, the PCMC administration has announced forthcoming action against those who erect hoardings without a proper license or install multiple hoardings using a single license.

Following the Ghatkopar tragedy in Mumbai, where 16 people died and over 70 were injured due to a large advertisement hoarding collapsing in heavy rain and winds, several civic bodies initiated surveys of hoardings in their jurisdictions. PCMC had already commenced such surveys following last year’s Kiwale incident, where a similar hoarding collapse resulted in 5 deaths. However, in the wake of the Ghatkopar incident, PCMC intensified its efforts. In the current fiscal year, 72 criminal cases have been filed against hoarding holders, space owners, and board holders for unauthorized hoardings or failure to provide structural audits.

It has been uncovered that license holders often secure permission for one location from the Skysign and Licenses Department of PCMC but then employ that single license for multiple locations. A private coaching academy in PCMC advertised its students’ exam success using multiple hoardings despite having a license for only one. The academy, authorized to erect a hoarding in Talawade Chowk, placed additional hoardings in Rupee Nagar, Nigdi, and Pradhikaran, with sizes exceeding the permitted limits.

In light of recent incidents, PCMC mandated that hoardings display a license sticker in a corner, detailing the name, fees, land, size information, and duration of the permit. However, the academy operator used identical details on all their hoardings, revealing the misuse. The PCMC administration has vowed to take action against the responsible party. Officials from the Skysign and Licenses Department have reported similar complaints. Due to manpower shortages during the Lok Sabha election, enforcement was limited, but more stringent actions are now planned.

PCMC’s Skysign and License Department Deputy Commissioner, Sandeep Khot, stated, “PCMC has designated 120 spaces for small advertisement hoardings. The authorization details must be displayed on the boards. We are going to take action against the academy that obtained a license for one hoarding but erected multiple hoardings near Nigdi.”