July 8, 2017
From job vacancy announcements to announcements of political parties, pillars and walls in the city’s public spaces are literally masked by posters. When Coimbatore was declared a smart city, it was a moment of joy for all in the city as the tag brings better amenities and much better infrastructure. But, that joy never ever came.
In 2012, when SM Velusamy was the city mayor, a resolution was passed in the Corporation Council suggesting an end pasting posters and marring walls with paintings and slogans. The resolution also mentioned that action would be taken against those defying the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Defacement of Property Act. It also mentioned that action would be taken against advertisers who use nails to hang hoardings and banners on trees.
But it appears that this did not go beyond the resolution.S Shekar, a film distributor, said that they have moved online and use print media for promotions and have almost stopped using posters. “We were instructed by the Corporation to stop using posters for promotions. Our distributors’ association does not allow posters. These days, people get to know about film releases online,” he adds.
Many social activists and urban planners suggest the use of digital hoardings and allocating a separate space for poster display. A Manoj, a civic rights activist, said no strong action is being taken on the basis of the resolution nor is the public bothered about maintaining public spaces.
“Though certain steps were taken by the corporation by painting walls in public spaces like the one near the Women’s Polytechnic, still many display posters on public walls even in Government buildings,” he said. Bus stands are full of posters about job vacancies and piles and sex dysfunctional treatment.
In cities like Bengaluru and Kochi many have started utilising pillars for vertical gardens. Urban Planner Namratha Aroor, who has been advocating for vertical gardens to be used at the Gandhipuram flyover, said it would be a boon for the region which does not have a green cover. “Vertical gardens provide green cover and also give the city a different look. Also, advertisers can move to digital displays or can be allotted separate spaces for this,” she says.
S Jaganathan, who is famous for his cement wall art around the city says, “It was out of disappointment and anger that I started doing cement wall art on walls around the city. But some heartless people have displayed posters even there.” He mentioned that one piece will cost around Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 and most of the times he has to find funds himself. “I’m very much interested and keen about doing some wall art on the pillars of new Gandhipuram flyover, but it would cost at least Rs 10-25 lakh.” He has done 15 wall arts across the city.