The AIADMK made massive arrangements on December 31 for the party’s General Council meet, which saw Chennai decked up with thousands of posters, banners and hoardings plastered with Jayalalithaa’s face. Several activists protested against what they felt was a violation of court orders on hoardings within city limits, and some of them were arrested too.
Serial petitioner and the unstoppable activist ‘Traffic’ Ramasamy filed a writ petition in court asking how such massive arrangements were allowed in violation of rules. But he was in for a surprise on Tuesday when the government said that only 350 hoardings were in the city on that day.
Here is a video we shot that day.
And here are some images.
If this was the sight at a small section of the route between Jayalalithaa’s home in Poes Garden and Thiruvanmiyur, then imagine how many hoardings were there in the entire 12km route. The TN government however wants us to believe that only 350 hoardings were put up. TNM’s own count based on ground reporting takes it to well over 1000.
Ramasamy, however, had a much higher number in mind. He told the court that more than 5,000 hoardings were put up for the general council meetings and asked the court to take action against officials who failed to act against the violations. Ramasamy also says that he has proof to show that more than 5000 hoardings were erected along Radhakrishnan Salai, TTK Road, Sardar Patel Road, Rajaji Salai and Kamarajar Salai.
R Nakeeran, member of the Arappor Iyakkam, of which 3 activists got arrested on December 31 and were released only on January 7, told The News Minute, “The whole stretch from Poes Garden to Thiruvanmiyur which is 12km there were digital banners and hoardings and each banner was inches away from the other. So, there will be more than 3000 hoardings.”
Judges at the Madras High Court were not impressed either. Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana observed that permissions were given on the same day, the applications were also submitted on the same day and the fee was also given on the same day. So, the court asked for the list of banners which were provided permission in 2015 along with the dates of applications. The court has asked the government to provide all the details related to the hoardings on February 12, 2016.
Further, referring to the violations that the hoardings have caused, Ramasamy in his petition said that the authorities had asked the AIADMK cadres not to put up hoardings 100 metres on either side of educational institutions, hospitals, worship places, road corners and junctions. But they have violated these rules.
Nakkeeran also alleged that the banners were “illegal” as none of them carried the license number.