Tuesday 23rd, October 2018
canara news

Unsung heroes and ubiquitous villains of the flex banner saga in Bengaluru

Published On : 07 Aug 2018   |  Reported By : Peter Morris


Around 31000 flex banners removed in Bangalore city in 36 hours. BBMP needed a rap from the honorable high court of Karnataka to put its act together and remove the illegal hoardings that were an eyesore in Bangalore. Politicians from all hues considered it their privilege to have the city defaced with flex banners portraying their pictures. The decision of the high court order has its origin dating back to 2015.

The then Assistant Commissioner BBMP (Advertising) K. Mathai had submitted a total of 8 reports to the BBMP about the leakage of revenue and illegal flex banners and hoardings in Bangalore City. See the attached extract from the Upalok Ayukta orders taking cognizance of these reports. It was no surprise that the mafia of advertisers got the better of it and got Mr. Mathai transferred out of BBMP.

Mr Rajendran Agnel says that another unsung hero is Mr. Sai Dutta, a Social activist, who diligently pursued the report and knocked on the doors of the Lok Ayukta.

Fast forward July 2018 and a division bench of the High Court comprising of Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice R Devdas put their foot down and said that this cannot go on and came down with a strong order instructing the BBMP to clear the banners within 3 hours and submit an action taken report.

What happened later is history and a proud movement for law abiding, peace loving residents of this great City says Mr. Agnel. “It is unfortunate that one politician was piqued by this drive and unabashedly demanded that separate areas be marked to display the banners. This is ridiculous and very unbecoming of an elected representative”

A call for 'minority Justice' at Anglo-Indian Meet.

This was no usual gathering of over 200 Anglo-Indians in Bengaluru and members across State borders on August 5th to commemorate the Anglo Indian Day at an auditorium of St. Mary’s Orphanage in East-Bengaluru in South India.

The 38th Annual General Body of Anglo-Indians cheered the presence of Chief Guest K Mathai, an upright Bureaucrat, reputed for honesty, grit, and courage on the line of duty in the South-Indian State of Karnataka. Mathai, who has had a stint as Warrant Officer in the Indian Air Force and also a qualified lawyer with his Engineering degree isn’t a bull whose horns one can easily grip or whose moral principles one can pervert.

In the first week of August 2018, wide-spread news reports adored his efforts in exposing the ‘Mafia’ involved in installing over 11000-plus politically-related/favored hoardings/flex-banners all across Bengaluru which in effect deprived City’s Municipal Corporation millions 2000 crores. The officer’s associated with the drive told this reporter ( on condition of anonymity) ‘With under-hand dealings and no receipts, a court of Law cannot take anyone to task, but common logic reveals that you cannot install or erect holdings without the patronage of people elected into governance. All we can do is pull-down hoardings erected without legal or official consent and especially those that cause grave danger to motorists and pedestrians. Some stooges of politicians had attacked the officials of BBMP who were removing the banners. The court took cognizance of this and summoned the Commissioner of police and directed that action should be taken and the magistrate court will not issue any bail to those arrested in this connection and that the bail applications should be transferred to the high court.

Mr. Sai Dutta said that this message should go out loud and clear to the stooges and cronies of politicians who break the law always in the misguided knowledge that their political bosses will rescue them, but this time they have run out of luck and the miscreants will be booked.

Mathai, though addressing the gathering of Anglo-Indians, said he is ready to help anyone who is despised or put through any harrowing experience in seeking services from the government department, which in fact is their fundamental right. Mathai, who assumed office in the Karnataka State Administration Service in 2008 has been known to be unbiased and a mouth-piece for people of all in distress regardless their background. At the meeting, he elaborated on the “ease” of getting property registrations online “without greasing palms” or having to “run about here and there”.

 







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