Reporter’s diary: Banner issue- How civic officials fear for safety

It has been a nightmarish experience for the civic officials fighting a losing battle against the ingrained banner culture in Tamil Nadu.
Reporter’s diary: Banner issue- How civic officials fear for safety


 With the political party functionaries not giving it up despite the Madras High Court coming down heavily on the hoarding culture, it is the officials who are caught in the middle.
In the last three weeks, there have been at least six major events during which scores of illegal hoardings were erected across the city: Vinayaka Chathurthi (September 2), return of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami after a successful foreign trip (September 9), birth anniversary of DMK founder CN Annadurai (September 15) and three functions on September 17 – Periyar EV Ramasamy’s birth anniversary, PM Narendra Modi’s birthday, and the foundation day of the DMK.

“Police support, political contacts and sharp instincts are essential. If you fail to gauge the situation correctly, your subordinates will be beaten up by unruly political cadres,” said a civic official.

One of the main hurdles they face is the lack of support from the men in khaki, fumed the official, adding that the attack on Corporation officials by MDMK cadre could have been averted if the police reached out to the party high command to explain the severity of the High Court order.

Corporation commissioner G Prakash, on whose direction the civic officials went to clear the hoardings from the MDMK event, has joined the chorus crying foul against the police. Some of the IAS officials have also reached out to the top brass in this regard.

— CS Kotteswaran, Chennai

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