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Bengaluru: Despite High Court orders, ad mafia thrives

Illegal hoardings are coming up across the State, and innumerable complaints by local residents fall on deaf ears
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Illegal hoardings are coming up across the State, and innumerable complaints by local residents fall on deaf ears

Highlights

Despite the November 2019 Karnataka High Court's order to the State government to crack down illegal advertisements across the State and register criminal cases against those putting up billboards, banners, hoardings, flexes and posters, the violations continue unabated under the nose of the administration

Bengaluru: Despite the November 2019 Karnataka High Court's order to the State government to crack down illegal advertisements across the State and register criminal cases against those putting up billboards, banners, hoardings, flexes and posters, the violations continue unabated under the nose of the administration.

Though the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is said to have come tough against such illegalities, the areas that fall outside its ambit, the authorities seem to adopt a lackadaisical approach.

In the wee hours of October 4, an illegal panel installer surfaced at Sarjapura main road. The Public Works Department (PWD) is authorised to register FIR against the culprits, however, the official from the department, after noticing polls put up for the hoarding, called up a local resident at 10 pm on October 3 soliciting his help in filing a police complaint against the accused.

Though the PWD knew that the illegal structure would come up, it chose not to take any action. The High Court in 2019 had also directed the State government to issue necessary instructions to the police authorities across the State to register FIRs under Section 3 of the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act immediately, upon receiving complaints regarding illegal advertisements.

The local residents say that the PWD was fighting the advertisement mafia since 2017, however, the with the new officials taking over in 2019 the crackdown slowed down. During this period, there was a spike in the number of such illegal panel installers. Against the illegalities, the residents complained to the Chief Engineer of the PWD and after their persistent follow-ups, the department filed FIR against a person running an advertisement agency.

Speaking to The Hans India, a member of the Voice of Sarjapura, Deepanjali Naik, said, "Don't we, the taxpayers have the knowledge that the public areas like roads, footpaths, dividers and bus stops are public proprietors and they can't be used for putting up hoardings. These can be used to put to safety and traffic signs. These are the illegal installations.

Only through goondaism these illegal banners are put up. Why is the government turning a blind eye to such violations? This is the High Court order that needs to be implemented by the departments."

Naik also stated that advertisements are a huge distraction for the drivers that can lead to accidents.

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