City officials to clear hoarding boards in a weekCity planners—sceptical of the metropolitan office’s new announcement—say the new move is just a gimmick.
After the contempt of court was filed last Friday against government ministers and top officials at Kathmandu Metropolitan City over their failure to implement a Supreme Court ruling to clear hoarding boards from across Kathmandu, city officials published a notice on Monday, ordering the clearance of all advertising boards within a week.
The city has directed all businesses and ad agencies to remove billboards, pamphlets, wall paintings and posters from buildings and utility poles within a week.
The city office on August 18 had also made a public announcement, asking to remove visually polluting factors as a campaign targeting Visit Nepal 2020. The effort never worked.
But city planners are sceptical of the metropolitan office’s new announcement and say it won’t be implemented at all. “Many businesses have spent a big chunk of money for these forms of advertisements,” said Suman Maher Shrestha, an urban planner. “These cannot be removed easily because this is not the first time the city’s published such public notices.”
Padam Bahadur Shrestha, the senior advocate who had filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court four years ago, had filed a contempt of court case last week after the government agencies didn’t follow the apex court's decision. Although the city’s Advertising Board Promotional Material Regulation Policy states that it is illegal to install commercial hoarding boards and advertising materials on addition frames on rooftops and balconies of private homes, the law has not been followed.
“Such pollutants not only ruin the beauty of the historic city, but they also are risky to the earthquake-prone city like Kathmandu,” said Shrestha.
One city official, also a former city police, claimed that those who are in charge of enforcing the removal orders are working with businesses by taking money and ignoring illegal hoarding boards. The official asked to remain anonymous because he feared he’d lose his job.
“Since the arrival of the new chief of city police, monitoring has gone down, and advertising boards continue to hang across the city,” the official said.
When the Post contacted the city office, its spokesperson, Ishwar Man Dangol, denied the allegations and said it was working proactively in removing all illegal hoarding boards.
“Our office will strictly stick to removing all illegal advertising boards if the deadline is not met,” Dangol said.