BENGALURU: Earlier this week, a WhatsApp message was doing the rounds across various resident welfare association groups on a petition that had been filed against illegal flexes and banners in the city. An earlier story by City Express recounted the many ways in which the flexes were affecting the lives of citizens and adding to the ever-growing garbage problem in the city.
A public interest petition was filed by Mayige Gowda of Saraswatipuram back in December against the state government and corporation for not implementing the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981. Based on this, a viral message has been reaching citizens across the city, urging them to send complaints and pictures of flexes in their area via email to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner and the Bengaluru City Police commissioner.
K Elangovan, member of Whitefield Rising RWA, says that since this is a high court mandate, people will definitely file their complaints against illegal flexes and banners. “Since morning, people have been sharing this message widely on Whatsapp, we have even put it up on our Whitefield Rising Facebook page. It’s great to see so many citizen groups taking part in this. I think now the politicians are also getting worried because getting rid of the flexes is a court mandate,” he says.
The court also asked the BBMP to submit a report on if any action has been taken till date by February 17.
GR Mohan, legal representative for Gowda, says that for the occasion of Mahashivatri, even more flexes will be put up, apart from the ones being put up for the upcoming elections. He says that while a viral post like this will help in getting the message across to many people, it’s finally in the hands of the BBMP to take action and report the issue. He adds that since apart from just a fine, offenders can get arrested for putting up illegal flexes, more fear will be generated.
“We know who the politicians are, we know when different festivals fall, we don’t need politicians to announce this via flexes. For Mahashivatri, at least 40-50k flexes and banners will be put up across the city. With more citizens getting involved in voicing their complaints thanks to the viral message, it will put pressure on the BBMP to act, and this is the best way to about it. However, citizens are still afraid of speaking up since it is their local MLA or corporator who is putting flxes up, and they don’t want to get into any kind of trouble,” says Peter Samson from the Viparva RWA.
Mohan adds that due to changing of the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court - Justice Maheshwari replaced Justice HG Ramesh on Monday - it is difficult to tell what the outcome of the upcoming hearing on Saturday will be.