Restore District Collectors as authorisers for hoardings, says consumer activist

June 02, 2023 08:54 pm | Updated 08:54 pm IST - COIMBATORE

The power to permit advertisement hoardings, which was changed from District Collectors to local bodies after the introduction of the Tamil Nadu Urban Local Bodies Rules, 2023, could lead to the flourishing of illegal hoardings, said consumer activist K. Kathirmathiyon.

After April 12, 2023, the power to permit hoardings is bestowed on local bodies such as Corporations, municipalities and town panchayats and Collectors are the permitting authority only in village panchayats.

“Giving this power to local bodies has led to various issues. Some ward councillors insist that the licence should be given to people who are recommended by them. This leads to a lot of violation of rules,” said Mr. Kathirmathiyon who has filed several writ petitions in the Madras High Court with regard to the installation of advertisements and road safety.

He said the Tamil Nadu Urban Local Bodies Rules, 2023, had several flaws and some of the rules were against road safety norms. This included the provision of advertisements in moving vehicles with digital boards and LCD boards, he alleged.

“The main rule with regard to the placing of hoardings and advertisements is that they should be parallel to the road. But, this rule is violated as boards are tilted to draw the attention of motorists,” he said.

Violation of rules related to the size of hoardings is also common. Mr. Kathirmathiyon alleged that the new rules relaxed norms related to the size of hoardings, allowing large ones.

Mr. Kathirmathiyon pointed out that new banners came up after a gap of a month or two when the licensing authority found hoarding illegal. The metal frame of illegal hoardings should be removed and the cost for removal should be recovered from the land or building owner. Further, a case should be registered against the owner of the land or building where the illegal hoarding was found.

“The space for hoarding can only be allowed for a legal activity. If the hoarding is illegal, the owner of the place should be booked. This will act as a deterrent to violators,” he said.

Meanwhile, the district administration said that a total of 185 illegal hoardings were removed in Coimbatore district in the past one month. A release said joint teams of the police and local bodies had been entrusted to identify and remove illegal hoardings. Efforts were being taken to remove the illegal hoarding that collapsed near Karumathampatti, killing three persons on Thursday. It added that action would be taken against the land owner and the advertising agency if a hoarding was found illegal.

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