THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:It was after a series of vigorous campaigns that the city finally rid itself of illegal arches, boards and hoardings. But now, they are back with a vengeance.
While the City Corporation has designated the Kowdiar-East Fort stretch as an ‘advertisement-free zone’, it is now flooded with hoardings, arches and pavilions. Thanks to the upcoming State conference of the CPM, the city has been painted red with temporary structures that put the safety of pedestrians and motorists at risk.
It is feared that the erection of hoardings and arches by the CPM will have a snowball effect. According to a senior official of the Thiruvananthapuram Road Development Company Limited (TRDCL), which is in charge of maintaining the CRIP roads, political parties usually remove hoardings when notices are served. Though notices were served, the CPM has not taken any action.
Since the CPM is going ahead with the violation, other parties too have warned TRDCL officials of dire consequences if they dare to touch their boards.
“Now, most of the political parties have warned us against removing their boards,” a TRDCL official said.
The Left-ruled Corporation has not taken any action on the issue. Deputy Mayor G Happykumar had told City Express last week that the Corporation was unable to take action since party hoardings did not come under the label of advertisements.
The temporary pavilions and constructions block footpaths and traffic signals on some stretches. Flags have been erected on hand railings and street light poles. Large cardboard installations too have come up at major junctions.
The CPM is also conducting public meetings on landscaped sections at junctions. Not a single road has been spared of festoons and flags. Posters are back even on the Kowdiar-Vellayambalam stretch, declared a heritage avenue.
ARCHES MAKE A COMEBACK
Arches, which were scarcely seen in the city for the past two years following a ban, are making a comeback. Not just CPM-sponsored arches, others too have cropped up at various spots in the city. Most of the arches are positioned on footpaths. Arches of various organisations, including the CPM and the Salvation Army, have come up at Kowdiar, Pattom, Vellayambalam, etc.
“The Kerala Road Fund Board is responsible for taking action against illegal hoardings. The District Collector can intervene only if there is any law and order issue regarding the removal of hoardings. I can take action only if it is a permanent structure,” said Collector K N Satheesh.