MCC Commissioner Orders to Remove Flexes/Hoardings prior to MCC Council Election on 12 Nov
Mangaluru : It’s once again election time, and this time it is Mangaluru City Corporation Council Polls taking place on 12 November 2019. But what looks strange is that why are these laws ONLY followed strictly during the time of elections, and not other time of the year- as per the ‘Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981’- “Whoever by himself or through another person affixes to, or erects, inscribes or exhibits on, any place open to pubic view any advertisement without the written permission of the local authority having jurisdiction over such area, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both”: – and the best part is that our Netas/politicians are the first people to violate the rules.
Last year prior to the Karnataka State Assembly election, Team Mangalorean had published this article “Why ONLY Strict Laws on Flex Banners & Liquor Sales during Elections & Why Not All Year Long?“, and I guess its time once again for yet another report on the same topic. In the wake of the announcement of MCC elections for all the 60 wards of the Corporation to be held on 12 November 2019, MCC commissioner Shanady Ajith Kumar Hegde has issued a order urging the concerned to remove all the flexes, hoardings, banners etc in the MCC limits, or else MCC will forcibly remove them.
It is learnt that with the State Election Committee announcing the MCC election, thus the model code of conduct has come into effective as of Sunday, 20 October, and this morning the workers of MCC were already removing illegal hoardings, including those of our “Nechhina MLA” and “Nechhina MLC”, among others. MCC Commissioner in his order had stated that hoardings, flexes, banners with images of politicians, political parties in various wards in the MCC limits should be removed immediately.
During the launch of “The Green Mangaluru” movement, MLA Vedavyas Kamath who was one of the guests during the launching ceremony with other netas in his speech had said that “We need to keep our Mangaluru Clean and Green. Try to avoid using plastic, and stop displaying hoardings, banners wich takes the beauty and Swachhata of Mangaluru. Let’s work together for a Green and Clean, and Flex free Mangaluru”. Wow, well said by our beloved MLA, but surprisingly looking at the few hoardings displayed having MLA Kamath’s photo and his ongoing ward projects, also has the logo of “GREEN MANGALURU” at the bottom? How about that! As per the Rules, flex or non-flex publicity is strictly prohibited- so who is at fault here?
And we also have our beloved MLC Ivan D’souza’s hoardings spreading his message about his Diwali celebrations and Goodu Deepa contest coming up on 23 October- this speaks about the strategy of our politicians in violating the rules, more than than the ordinary citizens. Bud sadly even after Mangaluru found a berth in the Smart Cities Mission, there has been a spurt in banned flex, plastic buntings and banners in the city in recent days. Flex hoardings of political leaders, members of temple management committees, Yakshagana programmes, religious events, and just concluded Mangaluru Dasara in the central business district area, are mocking the “smartness” of the city, say some civil society members.
Cleanliness or Swachh Bharat does not mean only stopping open defecation and roadside dumping of garbage and keep the roads clean. Activist Gerald Towers speaking to Team Mangalorean said that the lethargy of the city corporation has resulted in the mushrooming of such flex hoardings and banners in the city. When the hoardings and banners speak themselves who put them the corporation could easily fine them. But there is no will. As there is no fear of fine or any legal action people have continued to deface public places. “Using the footage of CCTV cameras the corporation could easily identify the persons putting up such hoardings. There was also a plastic mafia behind it, alleged Towers. “The corporation often evicts street vendors but why not banned flexes,” he questioned.
The only solution for this is that the corporation should keep the drive continuous against banned flexes, which is not done on a regular basis. Also showing partiality to politicians or religious organization will also not the problem- rules should be equal for everyone, irrespective of politicians, religious organizations/religious heads, and also common citizen. On the other hand though the government has also banned plastic bags, plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic spoons, cling film and plastic sheets for spreading on dinning table, irrespective of thickness they were widely being used in the city without the fear of legal action. I guess, that’s how our SMART CITY keeps moving forward, with NOT SO SMART PEOPLE, including POLITICIANS following the RULES!