K.K. Divakaran, MLA, has said the authorities of the Public Works Department (PWD) did not take action against some real estate owners and companies for illegally putting up billboards on road side trees despite the matter raised in the District and Taluk Development Councils many times in the last two years by him.
Inaugurating the ‘protection of road side shade trees’ programme by starting the clearing of boards and banners on road side trees organised by the Forest Department at Wood House, Olavakkode, here on
Wednesday, he said there are 4000 trees between Mannuthy and Walayar in Palakkad district damaged due to nails of billboards made of metals.
Initially the billboards were found in Palakkad but now it is found in most of the districts in the State on both sides of the National Highway and other roads.
He said these billboards were put up without any sanction from the P.W.D authorities. Thus action should have been taken against the offenders under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 section 3 (1) and section 425 of Indian Penal Code. These provisions could invite imprisonment and fine.
There are also Supreme Court verdicts on similar cases in the case of M.C. Mehta vs Kamala Nath and others (Writ Petition © No.182 of 1996.)
When the Span Resorts owned by the family members of Union Minister Kamal Nath constructed resorts changing the course of the Beaus river, the Supreme Court stopped it and fined the offenders. “The Motel shall pay compensation by way of cost for the restitution of the environment and ecology of the area. The Motel, through its management shall show cause why pollution fine in addition is not imposed on the motel.”
In another case, the Supreme Court on ‘Public Trust Doctrine’ principle took action against disfiguring by painting of rocks in Kulu-Manali (Himachal Pradesh) areas for putting up advertisements describing it as “Commercial Vandalism”.
The Supreme Court fined the Himachal Pradesh State government of Rs.1 crore for its failure to stop the disfiguring of the rocks. It also fined some of the leading multinational companies for putting up advertisements on these rocks.
The meeting was presided over by N.K. Sasidharan, Conservator of Forest, Olavakode.
It was addressed by A.M. Babu Bonavenger, Deputy Conservator of Forest, Social Forestry, P.S. Mani, Divisional Forest Officer, Palakkad, among others.