Bangalore: With electric poles, trees and transformer boxes being used for advertisements, it seems that many unorganised players have got a free platform for promotion purposes. Often we observe postcards, placards, flute boards being nailed or stapled on trees, crucifying the remnants of beauty in the city today. In fact, Section VI of Advertisement By-laws 2006, clearly states that no person shall display posters, nail, attach or fix posters, flex boards, cut outs on any tree, electric poles or telephone poles in the city. In spite of the law being so precise, this menace is rampant in the city.
However, there is one man who has been fighting a lone battle with the citizens and the concerned authorities to address this issue. E G Jaideep, a software entrepreneur, has been trying to find a solution for almost two years now. “I call up the organisations or the numbers given in the posters regularly and ask them how and with whose permission have they nailed the postcards on the trees. Sometimes they do listen to me but most of the time it is difficult for them to abide by my request. The onus cannot be put on them as they have various franchisee running under their name who indulge in such practices,” said Jaideep. He adds, “Advertisements for pan cards, passport, play school and PG accommodation have spoilt a beautiful road like BEL Road.”
Doing its bit, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahangara Palike (BBMP) removed 21,570 illegal banners on August 9 but many more are still to be removed by the authority. Apart from banners, the BBMP does not give permission to put up flute boards, posters and placards but the citizens, who are always prompt at pointing fingers at the authorities, have been contributing to this illegal racket.
BBMP officials in the Department of Advertising mentioned that the onus of prevention or taking action against persons who disfigure public property has been decentralised and lies with the Joint Commissioners in the city of Bangalore. These JCs have not been effective in controlling this menace because they say that they are threatened by ‘political’ and ‘rowdy’ elements and they also are short staffed to handle the problem as its magnitude has gone out of control. Also, there is no commitment to eradicate the menace of public property disfigurement.
When City Express spoke to BBMP Mayor Venkatesh Murthy, he cited reasons like lack of staff to tackle the issue. He added, “There is a problem in implementation. The contractors are responsible for rectifying it. Presently, it is zone wise and the zonal officer is responsible to keep a check. Soon the system will be transformed as per wards. I have written letters to the BBMP commissioner regarding the issue three months ago.”
Jaideep has personally approached the Mayor and has urged the authorities to take effective action to spread awareness to the people. He says, “I have suggested to the BBMP to put up the phone numbers of zonal officers concerned and the helpline available in these areas where the nuisance is more so that people can call and alert the authorities.”
Sangappa, from BBMP, who is in-charge of advertisements says, “I have asked my staff to levy cases against film publishers and MLAs under the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfiguration) Act, 1981.”
It is to be noted that section III 4C under the Advertisement by-laws 2006, the application to put a banner for advertisement should accompany the copies of the material to be displayed, location, time period, dimensions, etc. These approved banners will be dismantled immediately after the expiry of the time period and the advertisement agency as well as the commercial establishment will be jointly liable to fines extending to Rs 1000 per day for the advertisement displayed after the last date.
Helpline: If you see any person nailing a postcard onto a tree or electric pole, lodge your complaint by calling on the helpline 22221188.
- Make someone accountable in the city as a whole and in different areas/jurisdictions.
- Put up boards (could be sponsored) stating the (a) laws, (b) penalties and (c) the people to contact with their phone nos. (Joint Commissioner/ Police Station) in the event of any violations, in key locations.
- All posters, banners and advertising material in any form should be removed on a daily basis with the violators being booked without fail or mercy. For non-removal of posters and banners, the Joint Commissioner and Police Inspector of the jurisdictional station could be pulled up, and if necessary, action will be taken against them.
- Maintain a computer record of all the violators - individuals or companies and the phone nos. that are mentioned in the posters, banners, etc. (in a manner similar to the way records of traffic violations by repeated offenders are maintained). For second and third violations, the punishment should compulsorily include imprisonment.