Sangeetha Unnithan

Archaeology Department writes to City Corporation and District Collector.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Archaeology Department has written to the City Corporation and the District Collector to deny permission to put up advertisement boards and hoardings that hinder the view of heritage monuments and mar their value.

The department wrote the letter as a jewellery showroom recently put up a hoarding close to the protected Fort Wall in the heritage zone near Vettimurichakotta in the city. Heritage lovers and citizens’ forums have aired concern over the erection of the hoarding on the premises of the garage belonging to the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation.

Officials of the Archaeology Department said no advertisement boards, hoardings or banners should be placed in front of, or in a position obstructing the view of, a heritage monument. Activities, such as taking pits, which can damage the protected monument or the adjoining area are prohibited.

The department has expressed dismay over the rash of unauthorised advertisement boards inside and around the Fort Wall area, especially near places such as the Karamana bypass.

“In this particular instance, the hoarding is not strictly obstructing the view of the Fort Wall, as it is higher than the wall and not very close to it. Yet, it has been erected in a heritage zone and is diverting attention from the protected monument. If this is allowed, tomorrow, other commercial establishments will follow suit and erect boards all around the Fort Wall, which will seriously affect the view and value of this heritage monument,” a top official said.

He said the department had earlier removed similar hoardings from the Fort Wall area. “There is no strict legislation to penalise violators right now. So, we are trying to discourage this practice with the help of the Corporation and the district administration. That is why we wrote to the Corporation and the Collector,” he said.

District Collector Sanjay Kaul said he had instructed the tahsildar to investigate the issue. “We need to identify the specific advertisers who have put up these hoardings. Only then can we take action against them,” he said.

A Corporation official clarified that the civic body had not issued advertisement permits for new hoardings this year.

‘Reviewing applications’

“We are only in the process of reviewing the applications for permit renewals and new permits for the year. Even if the advertisers of this hoarding have applied for permission, they have not yet been sanctioned the permit,” the official said.