ERODE: Police arrested five people the other day for staging a protest demanding the removal of 300 flex banners that were placed without permission at Chennimalai in Erode district.
P Tamilselvan, a farmer and social activist from Chennimalai said, “The Taipusam festival at Chennimalai Murugam temple started on Friday and will continue till January 31. According to a Supreme Court order, prior permission must be obtained from the district collector to erect flexes and banners. However, more than 300 flex banners have been erected by political parties and private individuals without obtaining any permission.”
“The number of devotees visiting the temple will increase in the coming days and around 1 lakh devotees are likely to take part on the final day. Officials should take appropriate action to remove the flexes,” he added. At the same time, it is alleged that the panchayat administration has increased steeply the fee to set up a festive stall.
A stall owner who did not want to be named said, “Earlier, Rs 50 was the daily fee to put up a food stall. But this year it has been increased to Rs 5,000 for seven days. Similarly, the charges for all shops have increased.
V Jayaraman, Chennimalai Town Panchayat Executive Officer, said, “We have already instructed the owners to remove their banners that are put up without permission. Otherwise, we will remove them. We have given shop contracts to private individuals.
The charge fixed by the town panchayat should be collected by them. Appropriate action will be taken in case of complaints regarding extra charges.” District Collector Raja Gopal Sunkara said, “The complaint will be investigated.” The arrested people were later released.