Weeks after a row erupted over illegal hoardings that had earlier led to the death of a techie in Chennai, the Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday (October 1) sought permission from the Madras High Court to erect banners in order to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping to Chennai.
The two leaders would be visiting Mahabalipuram for an informal summit.
Municipal Administration Commissioner K Baskaran filed the petition to get permission and had stated that the two leaders would be holding bilateral talks on October 11 and 12 in Mahabalipuram. He had also mentioned in the petition that it was customary to welcome leaders by erecting banners.
Submitting that the Ministry of External Affairs had proposed to erect welcome banners at 14 locations in Chennai, the petition sought permission for the Tamil Nadu government to put up hoardings on the route from the airport till Mahabalipuram, through the Directorate of Information and Public Relations.
It said that the government wanted to erect banners at five locations in Chennai, four in Mahabalipuram and seven on the East Coast Road and the Old Mahabalipuram Road. It added that these banners will be erected from October 9 till 13 and that the strictest standards of safety would be maintained so that it does not cause any hindrance to the public.
Reacting to the government’s petition, the DMK said that the government is violating the law by indulging in banner culture. “How can the state government indulge in banner culture? How can they spend public money on erecting a banner? This shows that the government itself is violating the law,” the party’s advocate P Wilson told The Federal.
Social activist ‘Traffic’ KR Ramasamy too slammed the government saying that it has not learned its lesson after the death of R Subhasri. “This government has not realised anything after the death of Subhasri. No lessons have been learned by them even after this incident,” he told The Federal.
The court is likely to take up this issue on October 3.
It may be recalled that last month, Subhasri, a 23-year-old techie, was run over by a water tanker after an illegal hoarding fell on her while she was riding a two-wheeler near Pallikaranai in Chennai. It had triggered a public furore and the Madras high court had come down heavily on the government following the incident.