KOCHI: The High Court ultimatum asking local bodies to remove illegal hoardings by October 31 has put the Kochi Corporation on its toes. Though there are only four days left to implement the order, hoardings continue to dominate many areas in the city, including bus stands, railway stations and pedestrian paths. Many are encroaching into roads, posing a threat to people and in the long run, the environment.
According to the public, the majority of the flex boards are erected by political parties, especially the ruling ones.
“In Kochi, you come across a wide array of such flexes- both large and small - set up by these political parties. They don’t even take the trouble to remove the hoardings once the purpose is served. Since our local bodies are helmed by political parties, they lack the will to enforce the order. This is why our city will never rid of the menace,” said Rangadasa Prabhu, president, Ernakulam District Residents’Associations’ Apex Council.
According to him, parties opt flex-boards because it is more economical, faster to make and can withstand the test of time. “What they don’t realise is the tragic impact it has on the environment. Before any event, you can see an unlimited number of flex boards cropping up in the city. The High Court verdict is very timely but the Corporation would require a strong political will to implement it,” Rangadasa Prabhu said.
Meanwhile, S Gopakumar, president, Better Kochi Response Group, said the Kochi Corporation and the district administration helmed by the District Collector should take a call on this issue. “In several cities, Corporations have forcefully enacted laws removing flex boards. Truckloads of illegal hoardings have been removed in a single night. Why can’t our Corporation take their example and implement a complete ban in our city?” said Gopakumar.
He said political parties, organisations among others should resort to environment-friendly methods like using cloth and paper. “The flex boards, especially by political parties, are set up for a temporary purpose. Why should then they resort to the use of plastic. It is time the Court order is taken with high regard,” said Gopakumar.