Mayor S.M. Velusamy sometime ago asked the Coimbatore Corporation officials to initiate action against those who defaced compound walls of government establishments and public places. In passing the instructions, the Mayor categorically told the officials to be unbiased in initiating action.
What prompted him to pass the oral instructions was Ward 23 Councillor Manimegalai’s allegation that the previous Council, in which the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was in a majority, had allowed placing the DMK’s rising sun symbol as motifs on compound walls of several Corporation establishments.
She had referred to the compound walls in the park in Gandhi Park.
In fact, the Mayor had gone on to say that the civic body would not allow advertisements on medians and asked officials to initiate action.
His instructions to the officials followed another one issued over a year ago when a similar subject came up for discussion sometime in December 2012 in the Council.
But it appears that the Mayor’s instructions have been thrown to the winds and the first to violate the order were his own party volunteers, said Manoj of Lok Satta. All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam members have defaced the walls of Government Arts College’s on Arts College Road and have also blocked the wall in the Mayor’s name.
The party workers have repeated the offence on Thadagam Road, defacing the Forest College compound wall and at a few other places in the city. At a few other places, a few other political parties have also defaced walls.
But their contribution on walls pales in contrast to what the ruling party has done, he added.
He also said that those who defaced walls, spared the Government College of Technology’s compound wall because the college management had protected the wall with an iron mesh, which it did with tax payers’ money.
This was unacceptable.
What the political parties were doing was unacceptable, said K. Kathirmathiyon of Coimbatore Consumer Cause. The political parties’ leaders were the ones who should lead by example. Their violating the law was tantamount to saying that the rules applied only for the ordinary citizens and not those connected to the power centre.
AIADMK Councillors on condition of anonymity admitted that it was wrong on the part of those who had grabbed the wall space to have done so, for it generated only contempt among the voters. They also said that being the ruling party, they had garnered most of the available wall space in the city.
But grabbing wall space would not bring political dividends, said Mr. Kathirmathiyon, explaining that ways of reaching the electorate had changed with the advent of television, Internet and social networking sites. If political parties thought that they could reach voters through walls, they were wrong.
Such things no longer worked.
Sources in the Coimbatore Corporation promised to initiate action under the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Defacement of Property Act.
Mr. Velusamy’s aides said that he was not available for comments because he was conducting the weekly grievance meeting.