31 hoardings removed, 55 to go, BBMP tells HC

31 hoardings removed, 55 to go, BBMP tells HC

 Of the 86 hoardings still standing, the BBMP has so far removed 31 and will dismantle the remaining 55 in the next few days.

The civic body submitted the information before a high court division bench headed by Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, which is hearing a Public Interest Litigation on the removal of illegal flexes and hoardings.

Of the 31 structures removed so far, 28 have been taken down voluntarily, while the BBMP brought down three of them.

When the court wanted to know if the BBMP has an alternative to plastic in the flexes it wants to put up in skywalks and bus stops, the civic body said it has received samples from advertising agencies. It further added that an Ahmedabad textile research association has tested the samples and certified them as biodegradable since they contain 100% cotton, are PVC free and have no plastic component.

The bench asked the advertising agencies to file an affidavit, stating that the flexes they use will be made of 100% cotton fibre.

The court warned of consequences if it finds the assertion of 100% cotton to be anything less, insisting that the city has to be plastic-free. The bench also said the samples must be tested by a government body.

The counsel for the advertising agencies sought three months to source the biodegradable material from Ahmedabad for 526 bus shelters in the city.

The court asked if such materials can be procured from Dharwad or Hubballi and asked the counsel to revert with the possibility.

The court also rebuked the Centre, expressing disappointment over the delay in its response to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board's communication to conduct a detailed test on the samples. It then asked the KSPCB to ensure that the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) conducts a basic test concerning a few parameters on the samples.

Following this, the court asked the advertising agencies to share their samples with the BBMP, which in turn would share it with KSPCB for biodegradability tests at CIPET.

The chief justice observed that Bengaluru wants a completely biodegradable material to minimise the adverse impact on the ecology. The court also observed that Bengaluru is the pride of Karnataka and the country at large and it has all the potential to do so.

Smooth flow of SWDs

The high court also asked the BBMP to ensure that the stormwater drains are clutter-free and has smooth flow of water by December 15.

The civic body informed the court that it had floated a tender for the annual maintenance of SWDs on October 27, which closes on November 24.

The division bench headed by Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari asked the BBMP to begin cleaning the SWDs and report the progress on December 15.

The court also asked the petitioners to share their suggestions on issues concerning stormwater drains, which could be discussed at the coordination committee meeting chaired by the chief secretary. It then adjourned the hearing to December 15.

Will comply with pothole-filling guidelines

The BBMP also told the high court that it is working to implement the guidelines provided by the court commission on filling the potholes on the city roads.