Sunday, January 03, 2010



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BBMP has been cracking down on people who deface walls with posters in advertisement-free zones, but the civic authority has been selective in its clean-up act. While it has lodged police complaints against some offenders, it has been letting those with political clout off the hook. What the city needs is a common law that prevents the disfiguring of the city's buildings, reports Chandrashekar G. "BBMP officers are either driven away or abused by party supporters if they try to stop them from dirtying walls with posters around the city," say sources.

It's not just ongoing work on the Metro and other infrastructure projects that is disfiguring the city. Posters of political parties and films continue to dirty its walls, even in areas around the Vidhana Soudha, Vikas Soudha, and the high court which are advertisement-free zones, making a mockery of BBMP's rules and regula-tions.
Although BBMP joint commissioner (marketing and advertisement) Govindaraju says no permission has been given for pasting of posters in areas designated as adverstisement-free, there are allegations that BBMP has been letting political parties off the hook even when they display posters in areas they are not supposed to, while cracking the whip against those who do not wield as much influence for violating its Revised Advertisment Bylaws, 2006. Mr Govindaraju's contention that political parties need to apply for permission to display their advertisements and that they are not permitted to enter advertisementfree zones, also called `A' zones, does not cut ice with those in the know.

According to BBMP sources, the civic authority is not always able to enforce its rules. "BBMP officers are either driven away or abused by party supporters if they try to stop them from dirtying walls with posters around the city. This affects the morale of its advertisement squad which is supposed to bring down illegal hoardings and posters," say sources in the BBMP's advertisement section. "In a majority of cases, political parties display at least five times more posters than they have been given permission for," they add.

Samuel Paul of Public Affairs Centre (PAC) says while the BBMP has been lodging police complaints against those violating its advertisement bylaws and also penalising them, its officers often succumb to political pressure and let many of those responsible for such violations go scot free.

Although Mr Paul is pleased that BBMP has been filing cases under the Karnataka Open Place (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981 by tracing those responsible for displaying the posters in areas where they are prohibited, by taking note of the name of the printer and the contact numbers found on them, he feels the civic authority is a little too selective in nabbing the culprits. "Sadly, BBMP has been nailing only a few like film producers for displaying posters in places out of bounds to them," says Mr Paul, pointing out that there should be no double standards in enforcing the law just because some sections of society are politically stronger than others.
"BBMP must have the will to enforce the law uniformly in the interest of keeping the city clean," he underlines.


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