Illegal Advt Posters Defacing the Swacchata of Mangaluru- It’s Time MCC Takes Action
Mangaluru: On one hand volunteers of Ramakrishna Mission as part of Swachh Mangaluru Abhiyan, and also volunteers of Hum Tum (an NGO earlier named as Ugly Indians) very Sunday go around the City and start cleaning the walls and poles defaced with posters of films, PG Hostels, Political conferences, school admissions, Astrology etc-but on the other hand, seems like there is no stop to this poster menace, because people have been still pasting the posters no matter how much awareness has been brought on this issue. Whom to blame for this menace? Number one is Mangaluru City Corporation for not enforcing the rules/laws of defacement seriously- and secondly, we could blame the district administration also for not putting pressure on MCC to take action. There are all sorts of posters beginning from advertisement for rent, clinic or paying guest accommodations. A few walls are mainly defaced by the film distributors so as to popularize the films screened in theatres.
Just go around the City, you’ll be surprised to see many of the walls/electric/telephone poles, electric/telephone circuit boards, barricades etc being defaced with posters of all kinds, including too may of PG Hostel for rent posters. Film posters are ubiquitous as well. However, almost all these advertisements have been put up illegally without getting permission from Mangaluru City Corporation. Putting up illegal posters without permission from MCC is not just a crime under the Municipal Act, but also under the Defacement of Property Act. It is learnt that under the latter, a person cannot put up advertisement even on walls of his own house without prior permission from MCC.
If that’s the case, why has MCC turned a blind eye towards this issue? Allowing people to advertise illegally will be a revenue loss to MCC, but none of the concerned officials have done anything about it. Absolutely NOTHING! And that’s the reason we see more and more illegal posters pasted on the walls and poles. And many of the PG Hostel business is run by people from out of town, who don’t even pay the required taxes. How nice! So why has MCC kept quite on this? issue. Is someone in MCC getting a cut from these PG hostel owners- it could be. Bah humbug!
Rohan Shiri, a team member of an NGO “Hum Tum”, which was earlier named as “Ugly Indians”, who are concerned about the Swachh of Mangaluru speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “Our organization ‘Hum Tum’ means Humanity with tag line-clean, change and inspire. We are an anonymous group where we hide our faces, and do our work silently, which we have been doing for nearly five years. Every Sunday or on a public holiday, a bunch of us go around the city and remove all the illegal banners and posters that are put up illegally. We do this from time to time removing illegal publicity materials, but it is not possible for us to monitor all violations throughout the city as people who put up these advertisements illegally operate late at night. MCC should realize that by allowing such illegal publicity they are facing revenue loss. It’s really strange that MCC has been very liberal to these people who do such kind of defacing job”.
Many a time apart from revenue loss to MCC, and City defacement, these posters especially the film posters are an embarrassment to the public, specially the women. Sunita, a student from a local college speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “The walls of our college are defaced with film posters, where many have some really embarrassing content. We often face uncomfortable glances from the opposite sex, when we pass by these dirty posters. Sometimes we are also subjected to lewd comments. MCC should realize our condition, and do something in stopping this illegal poster menace”.
So in the meantime, Smart City Mangaluru will see all these illegal posters mushrooming at every nook and corner. But the illegal poster/banner menace is not only in Mangaluru but also in other cities all over the country. Having decided enough is enough, many cities have strictly enforced the law and they are punishing people who deface the areas, even Bengaluru City Corporation has been going after people who write or stick posters in public places. Planning to paint or put up a poster on a wall? Be ready to undo what you did, is their attitude towards those who deface the city.
After the drive to clear hoardings and flexes from public spaces following a rap from the High Court, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has been going after posters and wall writings, defacement of trees, walls and electric poles. In the recent days, the Palike has cleared as many as 86,032 posters hung on trees, those pasted to electric poles or walls, in addition to 2,249 wall writings. Earlier, the civic body had registered FIRs on individuals for putting up flex/banners and hoardings. Now, they have begun to register FIRs against people pasting posters. That apart, the Palike will either make them repaint the walls which they have defaced or send them a bill for charges incurred for repainting the place.
As per the officials of BBMP, they are not finding it difficult to trace the culprits. The posters are usually put up soliciting some service, with a telephone number. The officials are calling those numbers, making the person turn up at the venue and remove the same. BBMP has formed ward-level squads to tackle the problem. The ward-level squad will help BBMP to ensure that they don’t miss out on clearing writings or posters in by-lanes of the locality. A lot of wall writings or posters pasted are done by school managements who want to advertise themselves. Though defacing public walls without permission is nothing new, what is worrying the citizens is the competition among the political parties in encroaching each and every inch of walls along the important roads in the city.
Though the issue is prevalent in almost all parts of the city, it has become a menace in some of the thickly populated places such as College zones, hospital, Bus Stand, Market areas and others. If you look at the front entrance wall of Father Muller Hospital in Kankanady it is defaced with PG Hostel and a bunch of other posters. There are tough laws to prevent defacing of walls. But, no enforcing authorities bother to bookcases for defacing walls. But if BBMP can strictly enforce the laws and punish those who deface the City, why not Mangaluru City Corporation? It won’t be hard for them to catch the culprits because the phone number and other details are right on the posters. Hope MCC will take action after this alert from Mangalorean.com, a non-bias portal!