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Clean the city, put it back on track: HC tells BBMP

The New Indian Express logo The New Indian Express 02-08-2018

BENGALURU: In a stern action, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday has granted a week’s time to Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to rid the city of illegal flexes, banners and buntings.

“First of all clean Bengaluru city and put it back on track. It doesn’t mean removing flexes (alone), it includes several other things. The city needs to have the radiant face it was once known for,” a division bench of Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice R Devdas observed, while giving a week’s time to the BBMP.

The court made this observation after V Srinidhi, counsel for BBMP, submitted before the court that the local body had removed 5,000 flexes/banners/buntings by 2.00 pm across city, from morning, when the court issued directions to do so.

Taking note of it, the court wondered why the BBMP waited till the court issued directions to remove them. “Why could you not remove them earlier? Now tell me how much time do you need to put Bengaluru back on track,” the court asked while adjourning the hearing to August 8.

The court also asked the BBMP to keep the removed flexes/banners/buntings in its custody, besides videographing and photographing the removal process to submit the soft copy when the court needs it. That apart, the civic body also has been asked to present the methodology that is to be adopted to avoid recurring placement of such flexes.

The court has asked the BBMP to keep a tab on printers of flexes, banners and buntings, since the corporation is the agency that issues licences to them.

Earlier, as soon as the proceedings began in the morning, the court on its own summoned the counsel of BBMP and orally ordered him to ask the BBMP to remove all illegal flexes, banners and buntings and inform the status at 2.30 pm, when the serial no.99 (public interest litigation) on such flexes is to be taken up for hearing.

Then the court also said that a court commissioner could be appointed to monitor the removal process.

The court was hearing two separate public interest litigations seeking directions to remove illegal flexes/banners and buntings in city.

‘Close BBMP if you cannot work properly’

The HC also pulled up the BBMP and the state government for delay in framing new advertisement bylaws to regulate illegal flexes and banners in city. The court asked why the BBMP was sitting on this issue and said that the city cannot be held ransom like this. “Is BBMP above the constitution? You should close it down if you cannot work properly,” the court said.

Officials to work day and night

The BBMP officials are to work work day and night removing every such boards in the city. BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad has instructed all the officials (except those in the disaster management team since they have to look into rain-related issues) to work in removing these posters from the city.

Crackdown So Far

(As per figures obtained from the BBMP)

94,148 flex, banners, buntings, posters and wall paintings have been removed from all eight zones from the financial year 2014-15 until Tuesday (July 30)

456 FIRs have also been filed for putting up the structures under the Karnataka Open Places Disfigurement Act.

27,538 - Highest number of structures removed from one zone, from the Yelahanka zone

102 - Highest number of FIRs, filed in the East zone.

In October 2013, HC had directed BBMP to book cases against people who place illegal advertisement hoardings at the police station and collect penalty.

In 2015, senior KAS officer K Mathai who was then BBMP AC (Advertisement) submitted a report to Lokayukta on corporation's loss of revenue with from illegal advertisement boards and flexes.

In 2016, as per Governor's instructions, the state government ordered a probe on alleged advertisement scam at BBMP.

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