Ajsu workers wipe off graffiti from a wall in Ranchi on Thursday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
The process of removing political hoardings, posters and wall graffiti started in several places across the state on Thursday in view of the model code of conduct that came into place after announcement of the Lok Sabha polls on Wednesday.
If in capital Ranchi, political parties got into the clean act after an order from district officials, civic bodies in Jamshedpur took upon the job on themselves.
Ranchi district election officer Vinay Kumar Choubey has asked the representatives of all political parties to remove their banners, hoardings, posters and other advertisement materials within 48 hours, failing which action will be taken against them under the Bihar Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1985.
If political advertisements are not removed, the administration will remove the same by employing its staff. But the expenses involved will be taken from the political parties concerned, he warned.
Soon after the order, some Ajsu workers were seen erasing party slogans on the walls of Old Circuit House and removing posters from Circular Road. Asked about their further plans, a party worker said they would get rid of the hoardings from Friday.
In Jamshedpur, East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal came up with a similar directive on Wednesday evening after which three local civic bodies Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC), Jugsalai Municipality and Mango Notified Area Committee (MNAC) started clearing hoardings from 11am on Thursday.
Till the filing of this report, JNAC men had cleared 200 hoardings and banners from major arteries and roundabouts like Sakchi Straight Mile Road stretch near Bhalubasa, Sitaramdera, Agrico, Sidhgora and Baridih.
Posters on Hume Pipe road intersection near MGM hospital and Baradwari also came under the civic axe. A total of 150 hoardings were removed from Jugsalai and Mango.
East Singhbhum special officer (rationing) Anil Kumar Rai, also the nodal officer of the drive to remove hoardings, said: If the hoardings are replaced by new ones, we will clear them too. The cost will be put under poll expenditure of candidates.
As for non-political hoardings put up illegally by social outfits and commercial establishments, civic bodies will initiate proceedings under the defacement act, sources said. According to the 1985 act, offenders are liable for fines up to Rs 50,000 or imprisonment of six months.