It all began with an idea to remove soggy, half-peeled posters
that made walls around his home look ugly after the rains. And
now, over a year later, septuagenarian Shivraj Kumar hopes to make
Delhi a poster-free and visually clean city with a campaign to
remove all such unwanted advertisements that deface buildings and
disfigure street furniture because "this heritage city needs to be
With the support of his wife Laxmi, 73, and through his network
with resident welfare associations (RWAs) and Bhagidari (Delhi
government's residents partnership initiative), Kumar is getting
support from the citizens of Delhi in this effort.
The 78-year-old retired army colonel and founder secretary of
Munirka Vihar started the 'Poster Hatao' campaign in August 2009
with the help of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
With his persuasive mission to make the capital a poster free
city, Kumar spoke to Amiya Chandra, MCD's additional deputy
commissioner. MCD's advertisements and remuneration project cell
then planned the drive with 12 teams in 12 MCD zones.
Each team, comprising an inspector and 20 staff members, moves
around their designated area in a truck to spot and remove
Shivraj Kumar told IANS: "We use bottle openers and iron plates to
scratch the posters. The pavements are not littered after the
"Around 2,000 posters have been removed so far. There are
approximately one crore (10 million) posters in Delhi. If one
crore residents remove at least one each, the city will be free of
posters in five minutes.
"With the MCD's cooperation, we started the campaign from Malviya
Nagar. After cleaning 500 yards of wall in two hours, I realised
it's a major task and cannot be done without fellow citizens'
help," he said.
He added that the MCD had sent notices to advertisers for
"Citizens are not conscious of the fact they are defacing public
property by wall writings, sticking handbills and posters," he
According to the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act of
2007, which came into force in March 2009, sticking of posters,
banners and wall-writings on public properties is a cognizable
The penalty is a fine of up to Rs.50,000, a jail term of up to one
year, or both.
"The problem in our country is the implementation of law. We need
more awareness and education among the citizens," Kumar said.
The septuagenarian has also created a 'Poster Hatao' Facebook page
and even writes blogs to spread awareness on the issue.
After over a year of tough grind, Kumar is sure of the success of
"I even discussed it with the Delhi University Students Union.
During the students' elections last year, posters were almost
negligible," he said.
"I am very much clear about my goal and hopefully by the end of
2011, Delhi will be a poster-free city as the police are getting
aware. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is also concerned about the
issue," he added.
Shivraj Kumar is also planning to discuss the campaign with the
Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) to extend this campaign to
other metros of the country.
Thawani can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)