‘Remove photos of MPs, MLAs, councillors from bus shelters, water units’

Civic chief gets tough on publicity photos, warns of police action

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is cracking down on photos of MLAs, former civic councillors and leaders of political parties that are making a comeback across bus shelters, water dispensing units and other public places in the city. In a circular issued on December 2, BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said that FIRs may be registered against those responsible under relevant sections of the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981.

Stringent action may also be initiated against officials who fail to remove such publicity material, the circular stated. Mr. Prasad said that, as per order of the Karnataka High Court, publicity material to create awareness about works and schemes of the Centre, State government and BBMP can only bear photos of the President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Union Ministers, Governor, Chief Minister and Ministers, apart from the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi. Photos of other elected representatives, including MPs, MLAs and councillors, should not be displayed.

He directed the zonal joint commissioners to remove the photos of other elected representatives from public places.

RTI activist Sai Datta, who filed a public interest petition against advertisement hoardings in the High Court of Karnataka, pointed out that many bus shelters and water dispensing units across the city bear the photos of elected representatives and leaders of political parties. “Though the display of advertisements were banned in the interest of the city’s aesthetics around two years ago, metal structures for hoardings have not been removed. Ironically, there are quite a few around the BBMP head office itself,” he said.

Mr. Prasad had earlier claimed that the civic body had removed around 1,800 metal structures.

15 days to remove metal structures

Sources said, in a meeting chaired by the civic chief recently, officials were directed to float tenders to remove the metal structures. “Officials have been given a deadline of 15 days for the same,” sources added.

Mr. Sai Datta claimed that with advertisements being banned under BBMP Outdoor Signage and Public Messaging Policy 2018, wall paintings have started again. “This is also a violation, and the BBMP should act stringently against those indulging in such acts,” he said.

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