In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the city, the municipal corporation has come down heavily on the illegal hoardings and advertising signs that have been nailed to roadside trees or been obstructing traffic.
The civic body had issued a notice with respect to the move. February 15 was set as the deadline for the advertisers and owners of the firm that will be the deadline for the voluntarily removing these illegal banners.
However, seeing no move made by the owners till Saturday afternoon, the corporation officials were deployed at various parts of the city to remove these hoardings. Workers were found near Kalapatti and Vilankurichi on Friday evening where numerous commercial signboards mainly for real estate projects and education institutions are found on either sides of the street.
"The move will intensify in the coming days," said a corporation employee deployed at Vilankurichi Road on Friday.
In its notification, the corporation had said that an FIR will be filed against the advertiser, owner of the rented premises and even owner of the product or firm being advertised as per section 480 (I) of Coimbatore municipal corporation Act. As per the act, one could be imprisoned for a year and also be penalised to the tune of Rs 10,000 or both.
The illegal hoardings are a major revenue loss for the corporation as they do not come under the tax ambit of the civic body. "We are focussing on the main roads especially at busy traffic signals and also near Avinashi flyover. We are also focussing on some of the newly-added areas also," said S Sivarasu, commissioner (In Charge), Coimbatore municipal corporation.
While some of the hoardings were removed from Avinashi road, numerous scheme roads and inner lanes are still littered with illegal advertisements erected on telephone poles, trees and buildings, both public and private. Vilankurichi road and routes in Kalapatti are littered with advertisement signs especially of real estate firms that have put up signboards leading to their housing projects.
The corporation officials claimed that they are yet to compile a list of illegal hoardings and banners in their limits. But it is being estimated that there are over 300 illegal hoardings in the core city area alone.