Bengaluru: Chief justice Dinesh Maheswari and Justice R Devdas, of the Karnataka high court rapped the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) on August 1 and asked the civic agency to remove all illegal flex boards. The court instructed BBMP to clear the hoardings by 2:30 pm on the same day, pushing the BBMP to go on an over-drive. The agency is said to have removed 21,000-odd flex posters, banners, hoardings, buntings since then.
On Monday, the BBMP councillors passed a resolution to ban all ‘structures of advertisement’ for one year with immediate effect. The civic body has also asked all printers of flex material to shut shop, until they come up with a new advertisement policy for the city.
The BBMP Commissioner Manujunath Prasad spoke to News 18 and defended the civic body, saying they had already removed 94,000 illegal hoardings but also admitted that the illegal flex menace was mostly put up by elected representatives.
"We have already filed 14-15 FIRs in the last one week, whoever is responsible will be charged under the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act and then the law will take its own course" he said.
As reports emerged of BBMP officials being beaten up by miscreants, Karnataka HC also directed the city police to ensure that BBMP workers are allowed to carry out this drive without any fear. The police commissioner had to submit an affidavit and the action taken report before the court on August 8.
The court came down heavily on the state chief secretary for indecisiveness in executing the new advertisement policy and required amendments for the renewal of licenses. The court has now ordered the chief secretary to submit an affidavit by Friday on the appropriate action being taken.
The call to remove the flexes was supported by chief minister Kumarswamy. The CM tweeted, "I request all leaders, party workers, political parties and other organisations to co-operate with the BBMP and the government in keeping Bengaluru free of flex banners and illegal hoardings. Let us all get together to keep our city clean and beautiful."
In another tweet he instructed the BBMP to execute the high court order on removing all illegal hoardings and flex banners from the city immediately and to ensure that the orders remain enforced.
Several residents and activists felt that unless the punishment was strict, the flexes would resurface in a month or so.
The BBMP has put out a public notice stating that unauthorised displaying would amount to a criminal punishable offence under section 3 of the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of disfigurement Act)1981 as well as the Karnataka Municipality Act 1976. Violators will be punished with imprisonment of either description for terms which may extend up to 6 months or may be fined up to Rs 1000 or both.