CHENNAI: From encroaching footpaths and forcing pedestrians onto the streets, banners are now busy blocking traffic lights and prompting vehicular faux pas in Chromepet. This comes even as the Madras High Court has repeatedly told the state to crack down on unauthorised banners/hoardings in public spaces.
This ‘cumbersome’ political banner, fastened to a pedestrian signal on the GST Road and inviting you to a baby shower, was spotted on Tuesday morning. However, it took the traffic police over 30 hours to remove it from their own property, indicating their complacency in handling a matter that will challenge the local political status quo.
It is learned that the banner was brought down only after the public left a sarcastic message written in charcoal on the banner for the state government.
“I noticed the banner on Tuesday morning and immediately informed the police helpline,” said David Manohar, a local activist, adding that he was hoping for prompt action, considering the banner was completely blocking the traffic lights at an important junction that allows access to Pallavaram Municipality.
But the banner, decked with the former CM’s face, stayed put throughout Tuesday, even as public opposition gained traction. It is learned that complaints by the public to the traffic cop operating the signal also went unheard .
“At first I thought the signal was removed and the banner was attached to a pole but after a few minutes I realised it had actually been tied to the signal,” said Aravind Kanna, a resident of Selaiyur.
With the sun going down on Tuesday, the traffic lights began shining through the banner offering some respite to pedestrians and motorists. However, netizens were quick to upload images of the banner, being eerily backlit by the traffic signals, on social media.
The Madras High Court issued a ‘blanket ban’ on unauthorised banners/ hoardings in public spaces in December 2017, following the death of a motorist in Coimbatore which is attributed to political banners. However, there have been multiple incidents of banners from various political parties encroaching public space since then, forcing the Madras High Court to call out the state government’s inaction in this regard in July.