Corpn. to take action against printing press

Almost immediately after the death of a young woman caused by an illegal banner in the city, Chennai Corporation officials went into a huddle on Thursday, assessing challenges faced by officials in preventing the erection of banners and flex boards in public spaces. But was it too little too late, activists said.

Senior officials of the Revenue Department said the civic body had stopped issuing permission for erecting banners and flex boards, following the High Court ban on banners and flex boards in December 19, 2018. This means no permission can be given afresh, for temporary or permanent erection of banners and flex boards, in Tamil Nadu.

Corporation Commissioner G. Prakash said officials in Ward 188 in Pallikaranai had started tracing the printing press responsible for erecting the banner.

“We will conduct an inquiry tonight. We have not given permission to erect the banner. We will identify the printing press, seal it and cancel its trade licence,” said Mr. Prakash.

An FIR has been registered by the police and criminal action will follow. Continuous action is being taken by the Revenue Department, said Mr. Prakash.

The civic body has been removing illegal banners and flex boards erected along roads, taking action against all violators, claimed Mr. Prakash.

As per the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act, 1919, and the Tamil Nadu Urban Local Bodies (Permission for Erection of Digital Banners and Placards) Rules, 2011, Chennai Corporation officials have been empowered to regulate the erection of banners, hoardings and placards in the city.

Strict punishment

As per provisions of the Act, banners should not be erected in any part of the city without the permission of the Revenue Department of the Chennai Corporation. Whoever contravenes provisions of the Act shall be punished with imprisonment, for a term that may extend to three years, or with a fine which may extend to ₹10,000.

After the ban on banners, however, many of the assistant engineers of the 200 wards have reportedly failed to report cases of illegal banners to higher officials concerned, leading to violations.

“Banners cannot be erected by any political party. The civic body should convene a meeting of all parties to tell them, in no uncertain terms, that it is illegal to erect banners without permission,” said former Chennai Corporation floor leader and AMMK South Chennai District Secretary V. Sukumar Babu.

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