| PMC workers remove the flags and hoardings that were put up for the Adhikar Rally at Income Tax roundabout in Patna on Wednesday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Hoardings, posters, banners and flags of the JD(U)’s Adkhikar Rally have been removed from three roundabouts in the city as they are coming in the way of the statues of two icons.
The action was taken on Wednesday by the district administration after chief minister Nitish Kumar expressed his displeasure while paying floral tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at Patel Chowk on his birth anniversary.
When Nitish visited Patel Chowk around 9.35am, he was not able to see the statue of the country’s first home minister as it was hidden by the cluster of posters and banners that had been put up all around to announce the rally, scheduled for Sunday.
“What is this?” barked the chief minister. “Who allowed them to put up banners and posters over here, and how did they manage it?”
He pointed to district magistrate (DM) Sanjay Kumar Singh and reprimanded him. “This is not done, you use your powers and immediately remove all the hoardings, posters, banners and flags from all such places.”
This was enough to spur the district officials into action.
The DM immediately asked his officials, including those from the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC), to remove the offending hoardings, posters, banners and flags from Patel Chowk, JP roundabout and Income Tax circle — the last two have statues of Jaiprakash Narayan.
“As the chief minister has given the order, all illegal hoardings, posters, banners and flags near the statues of national leaders will be removed under the Bihar Defacement of Property Act. The people responsible for putting them up will also be fined for violating the law,” said Singh.
The Act allows political parties to only use private buildings for displaying posters, banners and flags.
By 10.40am, PMC employees, along with tractors, were found removing the Adhikar Rally hoardings, posters, banners and flags from the three places.
More than 1,000 small flags, 50 hoardings, 30 banners and around 200 posters of the JD(U) were pulled down.
A civic official directing the workers at Income Tax circle said: “An hour ago we got instructions from the PMC commissioner and the DM that all the these banners and posters should be removed immediately. We are not political people, we are just following the orders of our seniors. We are just doing our job.”
The civic body is yet to be paid for the banners and hoardings put up all across the city.
PMC sources said the agencies which hire the advertisement space owe them about Rs 15 lakh for the hoardings and banners.
The rally has already drawn flak from the Opposition after posters showing Nitish in the same frame as gangster-turned-politician Munna Shukla were put up at several places in the city.
Munna is already under a cloud as an FIR has been lodged against him with the Bhagwanpur police station in Muzaffarpur for allegedly demanding Rs 2 crore as extortion money for the rally from the director of a private engineering college.