BENGALURU: With Chief Minister Siddaramaiah insisting on banning flexes and banners, BBMP officials are gearing up to enforce it across the city.
At a recent review meeting with civic officials, Siddaramaiah had said that the High Court and Lokayukta had objected to the putting up of illegal flexes and banners in the city.
“We have decided to ban the boards. Hoardings with prior permission from BBMP can be put up,” the Chief Minster had said.
BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana said that according to the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act, the civic body can levy a penalty and also book a criminal case against offenders.
“We are preparing notifications which will be issued by the State government soon,” he said. When asked about the penalty amount, he said it is up to the chief minister and the cabinet to decide.
The commissioner said the BBMP will seek the help of the public and resident welfare associations (RWAs) to curb the flex-banner menace.
“We shall appeal to the public to inform BBMP officials about any illegal flex or banner,” he said.
D S Rajashekar, president of Federation of Bengaluru North East Residents Welfare Association, said RWAs are willing to participate in this drive. The BBMP should give the RWAs the power to remove the boards, he said.
“At present, the BBMP staff are entrusted to remove the flexes and banners. But they are not committed. RWAs, on the other hand, will be committed to the task and are familiar with the localities,” he said.
He, however, said the BBMP should not put the entire burden of removing the illegal flexes and banners on the RWAs.
“Periodical monitoring should be done by the Palike,” he said.
Police Commissioner Speaks: City Police Commissioner M N Reddi told Express that they have not received any order yet on the ban. “The BBMP will seek our support. We shall take action against offenders based on BBMP reports,” he said.
Ban on Hoardings Too
BBMP Taxation and Finance Committee chairman V Anand said the committee has passed a resolution to ban not just flexes and banners, but hoardings too.
“In Bengaluru, there are at least 10,000 illegal hoardings. Every year, during the budget we mention that we expect `200 crore to `300 crore through advertisement boards, but we hardly get `20 crore. Hoardings have become a menace. When we go to remove them, those who have put the hoardings up go to the courts for a stay order,” he said.
Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake said the ban will be enforced in the city first and in other parts of the state later. The proposal is before the chief minister and he will take a decision soon.
Bangalore Urban District in-charge Minister Ramalinga Reddy suggests that people running printing presses can be directed not to print illegal flexes and banners.
“If found guilty, the BBMP must cancel their trade licences,” he said and added, “This issue will come up for approval in the next cabinet meeting.”
‘Flex, Boards Are our Livelihood’
Rizwan from Ennar Printing in R T Nagar said they have been in this business for the past 15 years. “Besides flexes and banners, we also undertake other printing services like signage boards. The ban will hamper our business to some extent,” he said. But those who print only flexes and banners could be on the streets, he said.
Another proprietor of a printing agency in Marathahalli said they get 20 customers every day for flexes and banners. “If a ban is imposed, our business will suffer a heavy loss. The government should reconsider its decision. Besides, we don’t know if the customers have permission from the corporation or not. The government must insist that they get a permission letter from the BBMP so that we know whether the flex or banner is legal. This way it will not hamper our business. A complete ban is not a solution,” he said.