‘Structures’ erected without permission distract drivers and cause obstruction to pedestrians, say authorities

The Kozhikode Corporation on Tuesday started an intensive drive against illegal hoardings in the city, citing distraction to motorists and obstruction to pedestrians using footpaths.

The civic body removed over 100 illegal billboards from the busy sections of the city, including Link Road, Kallai Road, Palayam subway, Ram Mohan Road, Pavamani Road, and Eranhipalam.

“Besides posing danger to the public, these hoardings are hung without the permission or knowledge of the Corporation. They have been displayed in public places without payment of advertisement tax,” T. Rajani, Chairperson, Town Planning Standing Committee of the civic body, said.

“Legally, we consider a hoarding as a ‘structure.’ If it is to be installed in a public place, it can only be done after the Corporation gives permission and by payment of the necessary advertisement tax,” P.T. Abdul Latheef, Deputy Mayor and chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, said.

The city had many huge hoardings of every sort a range of organisation, from residential associations to NGOs, Ms. Rajani said. “The standing committee had recently resolved to direct the Corporation Secretary to get these removed and take action against those who installed these,” she said.

This move of the Corporation followed an earlier decision to declare the area around Mananchira an advertisement-free area.

The district administration had, for instance, in 2010 unveiled the Mass Action for Plastic-free Kozhikode (MAP), which failed almost as soon as it was launched.

MAP was to be executed over five phases starting from awareness campaigns and moving to a complete ban on plastic and non bio-degradable items such as flex, sources said.

Three years down the line, the number of flexes had only increased. But, Corporation sources said the civic body could keep Manachira more or less clean after the ban on hoardings.

“The decision to ban advertisements at Mananchira was taken during the last Council’s tenure. If someone is found violating the rule, we immediately issue a notice asking them to remove the publicity material,” Mayor A.K. Premajam said.

“We have removed hoardings from traffic junctions and footpaths. The drive will continue until we get all the hoardings removed,” M. Sivanandan, the civic body’s advertisement licensee, said.

But Mr. Sivanandan chose to be vague in his reply on being asked where the removed hoardings, mostly made of plastic, would be dumped.

More In: Kozhikode