After public outcry over the death of a young woman caused by an illegal banner, Chennai Corporation on Friday removed over 2,000 illegal banners and party flags in various parts of the city.
This is the first time such a massive exercise has been carried out by the civic body against illegal banners.
According to sources, Corporation Commissioner G. Prakash directed all executive engineers of the 15 zones, early morning, to remove all banners in the city. By 10 a.m., over 2,000 banners were removed.
The Commissioner asked us to remove all banners erected by political parties and individuals. We received instructions not to listen to any party leaders. We were asked to file complaints with the police for violation of the ban, said an official.
Corporation employees were found removing banners and flags right from 7 a.m. A large number of banners, erected by political party cadre following the Chennai street food festival in Island Grounds, which was inaugurated by the Chief Minister, were removed by the civic staff. Banners erected by political party cadre along Lloyds Road, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Kamarajar Salai and Royapettah High Road were removed. Many stretches in added areas such as Ambattur, Sholinganallur, Perungudi and Tiruvottiyur were also cleared.
However, illegal banners were not removed in several interior roads in the city, said sources. Former Chennai Corporation Councillor S. Mangala Raj said illegal banners were erected near Hamilton Bridge in Mylapore even on Friday. I raised the issue of illegal banners in the Corporation Council many years ago. But the Corporation has not been able to regulate the erection of banners, he said.
Political parties are not worried about the court direction or the rules. Banners continue to be erected along major stretches such as Rajiv Gandhi Salai. On Friday, a political party functionary erected banners along Bazar Road in Mylapore. Corporation officials removed it only after the tragic accident, said Mr. Mangala Raj.
Senior officials said though they had preferred complaints in many of the cases with the respective police stations, FIRs were not registered against any of the party leaders who had put up the illegal banners in the city.