Illegal Banners are back: Citizens worried, officers unmoved
Three years after techie death, banners again proliferate in city. It’s particularly bad in Medavakkam. Residents have been complaining to officers about illegal banners
Published: 27th June 2022 05:41 AM | Last Updated: 27th June 2022 10:55 AM | A+A A-
CHENNAI: It has been nearly three years since 23-year-old techie Subhasri died after an illegal banner crashed on her while she was driving on the 200-feet radial road stretch along the Thuraipakkam-Pallavaram Road in Chennai. Following the public outcry after the incident, civic bodies across the State came down heavily on illegal hoardings and slapped penalties on those erecting them.
But the situation seems to be back to square one now as illegal banners, flagpoles for birthdays, weddings and political events have once again started cropping up in large numbers across the city. It’s particularly bad in Medavakkam. Residents have been complaining to officers about illegal banners erected on the Medavakkam-Mambakkam road for 10 days now to no avail.
“I first registered a complaint with police on June 16. They called the next day and said they would get the banners removed. Three of us have been calling them daily ever since but no action has been taken. This will only lead to a major mishap,” said A Sathik Basha, a local civic activist.
Residents also say with rain expected, wind may exacerbate the risk. “A banner could fall on anybody. Recently, a rusted flagpole that was erected for a wedding in Medavakkam fell on a pedestrian, injuring him. If it had fallen on a motorist, it could have proved fatal,” said R Ramani, a resident.
Corporations and panchayats had specified that a 10-metre gap is mandatory between two banners, they must be erected at least 100 metres away from educational institutions, hospitals, places of worship, statues and other tourist spots, and should not be erected on road medians. Application for permission submitted to civic bodies must be attached with a no-objection certificate from the police station concerned with a demand draft and security deposit.
“Public spaces must be exclusively for public use. There’s no question of regularisation. Just because someone pays and gets a banner licensed, it does not make it any less of an inconvenience,” said another long-time resident.
While panchayat officials said they have not received any letters seeking permission to erect banners on the Medavakkam-Mambakkam road, police officials said they received complaints. “We have received complaints regarding the banners and orders have been issued to remove them. They will be removed within 24 hours,” a police official said.