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Illegal hoardings are threat to road users (Relevant for GS Prelims & Mains Paper II; Polity & Governance)

What happened?
A banner put up on a road divider in Chennai by a functionary of the AIADMK to celebrate a wedding, fell on a young woman riding a two-wheeler. Consequently, she went off balance and under a tanker lorry, leading to her death. Only two years ago, a young engineer, died under similar circumstances in Coimbatore and another youth, was electrocuted in Udhagamandalam when he touched a party flag that was in contact with a wire.

Response of political parties
Political parties do not observe any restraint in placing hoardings even after many directions from the Madras High Court to stop endangering public safety, goes to show that there are no serious consequences. Evidently, they are not persuaded by the orders issued in February this year by a division bench, impleading 11 political parties and reminding them of its many earlier orders that prohibit threats to public safety through banners and boards.

What should be done?
The government must fix accountability and make individual members of the executive liable for lack of public safety. There are disturbing aspects to the official response to the incident in Chennai, and the inquiry must go into the reported reluctance of the police to proceed against the AIADMK member who was responsible for the banners being put up. The Revenue Department and the local body must explain their failure to prohibit the dangerous structures, when there are clear orders in force, and acts of omission and commission should attract strong action.

Source: The Hindu



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