December 1, 2017
Though the Corporation claims to be on the job of removing hundreds of banners and cut-outs erected in view of the MGR centenary celebrations to be held in the city on Dec 3, following the directive of the Madras High Court on Thursday, scores of them are seen in violation of the order.
More so, new ones are cropping up, especially on the Avinashi Road leading to VOC Park Grounds, the venue for the event. The HC has clearly ruled that no poles or frames or structures for arches, boards, placards, hoardings, display boards or banners shall be erected on any highway, public road, public passage or pedestrian pathway or pavement.
The urban local body has not made any details available so far with regard to the banners and placards as mandated by the TN Urban Local Bodies (Permission for Erection of Digital Banners and Placards) Rules, 2011.
According to the rules, permission holder is required to display at the bottom of banners the permission number, period of validity and total number of digital banners and placards for which approval has been given.
“To my knowledge, there is no single banner displaying the mandatory details. When approval specifications are not displayed, it is obvious that they are illegal,” says civic activist A Manoj, who has been travelling across the city and recording all violations pertaining to the hoardings.
Reeling out several instances of violations, he says 10 banners in a row have been erected on behalf of Coimbatore South MLA Amman Arjunan and all of them are standing across the road.
As per the Digital Banners Rules, the hoardings can be placed only parallel to the footpath or road not across the footpath or road margin, except in the case of median and the stipulated distance between one banner and another should be 10 metres.
“The corporation is making tall claims. But there seems to be no visible change. If at all, one banner is removed as an eyewash, the same one is placed elsewhere,” he says, claiming that the one in Ramanathapuram signal has been shifted to near Gem Hospital and a big banner has been placed over a small one opposite CMCH bus stand. Poles stand firmly rooted on Sungam roundtana and Lanka Corner junction ready for banners to be placed in the eleventh hour, he adds.
Advocate General Vijayanarayanan had submitted before HC that the State has given permission for 258 banners vide communication dated November 20, 2017. Refusing to consider it as permission Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M.Sundar said, “But what is produced in court appears to be the recommendation by corporation commissioner to district collector. The communication reveals that recommendation has been made in respect of stretches of roads numbering 27 and mentions number of banners erected in those stretches. There is no topo sketch indicating the proposed approximate points of erection of each of the banners and placards. This appears to be in clear contravention of the Digital Banners and Placards Rules.”
Going by the AG’s submission in the HC, it is understood that the city has at least 258 banners on 27 road stretches, but no details have been officially made available as to how many are legal and how many illegal banners the civic body has removed on Friday or intending to remove on Saturday, as the event is scheduled on Sunday.
“Our legal team led by advocate Arulmozhi has petitioned the Corporation and Police Commissioners seeking to implement the HC order in letter and spirit. But we do not think that the court directive is being followed. Several new banners are coming up on the stretch leading from Neelambur to Avinashi Road in the western direction,” DMK MLA N.Karthik, who filed the petition in the HC, told The Covai Post.
Stating that his party’s intention is not to prevent the conduct of MGR centenary celebrations, he said their concern was that no more life as that of Ragu should be lost because of the presence of illegal banners and buntings.
The DMK leadership, according to him, is considering moving the HC for contempt after watching out the action taken by the civic body on Saturday.