Out with the mess!

One of the favourite means to make easy money for the party members of the previous government was to put up a hoarding with the then Chief Minister’s visage gazing imperiously down on us lesser mortals. After a wait of three months or so, the image would be removed and it would be quietly converted into a commercial hoarding. I remember seeing this happen in at least two locations, and am told there were more. The result? A sudden mushrooming of hoardings with scant regard for aesthetics, heritage sites, public inconvenience or for safety.

Well, the wrongs of the past may just get corrected now. For the Madras High Court has stepped in to restore sanity. The Court has laid down comprehensive guidelines to regulate hoardings and remove illegal structures, and is said to be holding the District Collector and jurisdictional Tahsildars ‘personally responsible’ for enforcing its orders. Finally, accountability in public office! And it had to take a High Court for it to happen.

The High Court, in fact, has directed the Chennai District and Muncipal Administration to remove, with police help, all unauthorised hoardings in and around the city. To ensure this is followed to the letter, the Court has constituted a Committee, headed by a retired High Court judge, to oversee the operation. This is judicial activism of the best kind in the public’s interest.

And you know the best part of the Court’s directive? The Committee will also identify places of historical and aesthetic importance, as well as popular places or worship, to keep them hoarding free. If you took a drive around the city today, you will find the Committee has already been active, with numerous hoardings being brought down. Many are already down at the Kotturpuram Bridge and the 100 Foot Road at Vadapalani. Methinks we citizens of this fair city need to applaud the action of the Madras High Court, and urge them to look into other areas of public concern such as proper sidewalks and sewerage.

2 Comments so far

  1. vinod (unregistered) on August 12th, 2006 @ 3:42 pm

    i just got back frm delhi yday and the city looked so beautiful without hoardings…

  2. phantom363 (unregistered) on August 15th, 2006 @ 2:49 am

    i don’t know. hoardings are a vibrant representation of our commercial culture. the bright lights and the moving signs are a trade mark of times square in new york. without the fanfare of lights, it would be a dull dead end. hoardings can be creative and catchy. in the 60s and 70s air india used to have a fabulous hoarding in mount road (as it was then known). the trick is to have quality hoardings. i agree that the pix of the politico staring down at you is enough to set down even the sunniest among us.

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