Political campaign posters deface walls in Chennai ahead of elections in TN

As political parties started warming up for the high voltage elections in the state to be held early next year, the menace of wall posters that has already been a hurdle for beautification efforts of authorities, has made a comeback.

Though the movie promotional posters have taken its way to the digital spaces from the public places due to the pandemic, the long multi-colour posters of individual political parties and mass leaders have started appearing on the walls in every nook and corners of the city.

For instance, if you take a stroll on the roads near Arasamaram in Ramapuram, you can see different kinds of posters of different political parties all over the sights, be it pillars of bridges, walls, lamp posts, and Tangedco junction boxes, name boards of streets. Even barricades put up for road repairing are not spared.

For several years, the corporation authorities had introduced many measures to tackle the menace but it always made comeback due to the insincere approach. In 2015, the civic body, when Saidai S Duraisamy was Mayor, had prepared an action plan and sent it to the Chief Minister late chief minister J Jayalalithaa to approve the plan. But it was never implemented. Though DMK’s M. Subramanian, during his tenure as mayor before Duraisamy, had imposed ban on wall posters on arterial roads in the area like Anna Salai, Kamarajar Salai, Thiruvottiyur and in subways, flyovers and all government buildings in the city, the effort too didn’t have yielded the desired results.

Antony Rubin, an environmental activist, says the people should be more vigilant to end such kind of pollution. The city is going to become a bin of poster wastes for sure as the elections have become more competitive and ban on the non-gradable plastic fluxes. The residents should not allow political parties to paste posters on their compound walls. If anybody misuses the nearby public places by pasting posters, the residents should alert the authorities’, he says.

Meanwhile, public rights activists suggest that the civic body should set up exclusive spaces for pasting posters and banners in each wards and administration can collect daily rent from the people who use the space.

‘The posters pollute not only the environment but also the vision of commuters as well’, said M.B. Nirmal of Exnora International. He also recalled the Corporation's initiative of the beautification of public spaces by engaging artists some years ago during the tenure of Subramanian. It was a beautiful campaign and had gained traction among people. But it didn’t last long. It’s important to launch such a campaign as the elections around the corner’, he said.

However, an official with the Corporation said that there was already a standing instruction to the concerned authorities to take action regarding the defacement of public places under the Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959.



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