BENGALURU: Hoardings are spread across the city like a rash — on lamp posts, across sign boards, blocking traffic signs and occupying footpaths and medians. With Dinesh Gundu Rao, the newly appointed KPCC president, taking charge on Wednesday, supporters across the state were busy adding more flexes onto the overcrowded roads. Take for example Queen's Road, where the party office is located. With 100-150 hoardings straddling footpaths, pedestrians were forced to walk on the road, braving speeding traffic. Not just that, the flexes hide the barricades that indicate no-parking zones. Despite several attempts, Rao wasn't available for comment.
People said they expected politicians to act more responsibly. Dr Syed Novmaan, an NRI who is visiting the neighbourhood to complete the school admission formalities for his daughter, said, “This is such a nuisance... The BBMP officials report to the politicians, how can they enforce the law when their bosses flout them?"
Most sign boards and barricades were not visible, and vehicle owners were being fined for parking violations for no fault of theirs. Syed Hassan, a corporate executive, said, “Those who are new to the area don't know which are the no-parking zones and the traffic cop doesn’t inform them either, just fines them."
Children who attend the school nearby were inconvenienced, especially when they had to cross the road and oncoming traffic was not clearly visible because of the ‘congratulatory’ signs. The school bus driver Zaker Shareef said, “These party workers put this up for every silly occassion, including birthdays and anniversaries. Now people have stopped caring. There are about four traffic cops here and none of them are doing their duty."
A traffic cop, who did not wish to be named, pleaded helplessness and said that he is at the receiving end of their ire. “People just don’t understand that we cannot do anything about these hoardings," he said.
Party leaders said that they have nothing to do with these flexes and that they were placed by their ‘supporters’. Suraj Hegde, AICC secretary, said that the hoardings were funded by the supporters and that the party had not spent any money on roadside flexes apart from the ones inside Palace Grounds, where the ceremony was held. Salim Yunus, the zonal vice chairman minority of KPCC, said, “These efforts are done out of the love... I myself have put up 25 hoardings and I’m yet to pay for them.”
To place hoardings, people have to seek the permission of BBBMP. Assistant revenue officer of BBMP, Sreenivas, said that no official permission has been given to put these up. “We have given zonal ward officers the power to grant these permissions,” he said. Surprisingly, Ashok, the zonal joint commissioner of East, said he has not even received a request for permission. People who put up such boards without permission can invite a fine of upto `1,000 and six months imprisonment. BBMP commissioner Manjunatha Prasad said, “We will take action.” (With inputs from Sharath Manjunath)