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Bengaluru goes Flex, Banner free!

Bengaluru: Come festivals, birthdays of politicians or conventions by political parties, groups and communities, the entire city would be completely overrun by flexes in every nook and corner. The flexes, unanimously take over the city including trees, electricity poles and even pedestrian tracks. Though the corporation received numerous complaints in this regard, it never took any action, but it finally woke up after the High Court cracked its whip on its back. Now, the city getting rid of its plague of flex and banners has pleased its citizens.

Advertisement panels are being dismantled, posters, flexes by well wishers, pictures on walls are all disappearing one by one. Bengaluru is unfolding into a new form through Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) operation to make the state capital free from flexes and banners. The snap flex removal operation being conducted in the city since past one month has been successfully implemented throughout the city.

The operation to get rid of flex banner and bunting on the city has given it a new form of beauty and a new experience to its citizens. Meanwhile, through the complete removal of flexes from the city, BBMP has proved right the High Court’s observation that if the administration facility carried out its responsibilities effectively, nothing was impossible. The High Court’s unwavering stand against the flexes in the city that were spoiling the city’s beauty has attracted much appreciation from everywhere.

Stop on posters

The indiscriminate pasting of posters on the walls and also the writing on the walls in the central parts of the city like Palace road, Majestic, Gandhinagara, Corporation, Chikkpet and other areas robbed them off of their beauty.

The corporation which initially started its drive against flex banners then attacked posters followed by application of paint on walls to cover up the writings on it. As a result, the walls in the central part of the city turned clean and restored their beauty.

Groups and institutions supported the corporation

Several groups-institutions joined hands with the corporation staff to assist in the drive on removal of posters. It is said that, accordingly, the Ugly Indian organization agreed to paint beautiful paintings on the walls that had been cleared of posters and writings by the corporation staff. Also many organizations on the zonal level started a self-motivated abhiyan for the removal of posters.

Agencies frightened

Previously, the corporation had on multiple occasions carried operations against illegal advertisement panels but ended up being ineffective. Also, the advertisement agencies never paid any heed to the corporation’s order on the removal of advertisements. But now, in the backdrop of the High court taking exception on the illegal advertisement littering the city and consequently the effective drive by the corporation to remove the advertisement panels, has frightened the agencies which have come forward by themselves to dismantle the advertisement panels that they had erected.

Permanent ban on advertisement panels

 Till now the corporation has remover over 25,000 flexes and buntings, and has decided to ban all forms of advertisement in the city for the period of one year. It has now decided to permanently remove all advertisement panels save that of the government. It has also thought to initiate strict action against advertisement agencies who have failed to pay charges since several years.

Removal of hoarding structures, a headache

There are more than 10,000 hoarding structures within corporation’s jurisdiction and their removal is a real headache for the corporation. The advertising agencies must provide the documents related to the structures installed in private properties by August 30th, failing which the corporation will remove the structures. In case the agencies themselves come forward to remove the structures, they have to nonetheless get it removed through the corporation itself and also pay the charges for the work done.

A hording structure can weigh hundreds of tons and a crane is essential for its removal. Presently, the corporation is facing a shortage in the number of cranes, cutters and staff required for the removal of more than 10,000 such structures which has become a headache for the institution. Therefore the corporation has decided to give the removal of hoarding structures on contract basis post crossing the deadline.

Action without any obligation

The commissioner has already ordered initiation of criminal proceedings without any obligation against those responsible for illegal advertising and pasting of posters within BBMP limits. Accordingly, cases have been registered against BJP leader Chi.Na.Ramu and against the supporters of R.R.Nagar corporation member.

The spark that started the drive against flexes

The plague of illegal hoardings reached to an extent were flexes wishing a minister on his birthday were erected in zones banned from displaying advertisement near the Vidhana Soudha and High Court premises. This irked the High Court which took the corporation commissioner to task on August 1st and by the very evening strictly directed the immediate removal of all flexes in the city.

In this backdrop, the corporation dedicated all its resources to the removal of flexes. Even then, the High Court cracked it whip on the corporation and warned them that it would maintain a strict eye until all the flexes have been removed and consequently, the corporation removed thousands of flexes within two days.

While the officials were conducting the cleaning up operation they were assaulted by miscreants which only infuriated the High Court which then took the police commissioner to task and directed the official to provide the necessary security for the operation and to take strict action against the accused. Due to this, the flex problem that pestered the city since decades was brought into control with 25 days, and more than 25,000 flexes were removed.

Flex waste to be converted into RDF for cement industries

The hundreds of truck loads of flex wastage that has been collected through the BBMP’s drive have been sent to BBMP Scientific Waste Treatment Unit where it will be converted into Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). In this way, the produced fuel will be sent to cement industries, informed the officials.

What does the law say?

BBMP has come forward to take strict action against those who have installed illegal flexes, banners and flags within BBMP limits. Accordingly, criminal proceedings will be initiated against the guilty as per the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act of 1976 and as per Karnataka Free Areas (Conservation) Act 1981. According to the laws, the guilty will be sentenced to 6 months of jail time or a fine of Rs. 1 lakh or both.

Either remove or face incarceration

The advertisement panels installed on the footpaths, storm drains and parks within the corporation’s limits will be removed by the corporation itself. The advertisement panels installed on private properties will have to be removed by the property owners by August 30th. If not, the essential documents must be submitted to the officials within the date. If incase, they resist the removal of the panels, criminal proceedings will be taken against the property owner and the guilty will be sent to prison, warned corporation commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad. 

App for advertisement removal

A special app has been developed to locate the illegal advertisement panels on private properties within the corporation’s limits and already the officials have started uploading information onto the app on the illegal panels. Accordingly, the officials will conduct operations through the information made available including the information on the location of the board, the property owner, land tax filing details and many other details.

Details of unauthorized advertising panels

Zone

Number of panels

Yelahanka

536

Mahadevapura

1,327

Dasarahalli

198

R.R. Nagara

186

Bommanahalli

481

South

2,293

West

1,244

East

3,907

Total

10,172

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