Amid opposition from civic groups and within the BJP, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has rolled back the decision to allow advertisement hoardings in Bengaluru — a notification to permit the same was reportedly issued on July 26 when his predecessor B S Yediyurrapa resigned as the CM.
The notification titled Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Advertisement Rules, 2021, essentially allowed the return of advertisement hoardings in the city despite the city council deciding on imposing a moratorium on hoardings in 2018. The rules for hoardings had been framed in 2019 by the BBMP but were put in cold storage by the state due to opposition from citizens who had approached the Karnataka High Court against the move.
The move by the administration under Basavaraj Bommai to overturn a decision taken barely 45 days earlier by his predecessor has reportedly come after BJP leaders raised concerns that the rules had been notified at the instance of the city hoardings lobby and favored the lobby.
“The notification issued on the last day of the tenure of the former CM has raised a lot of suspicion with regard to its intent since there has been a curb on hoardings,” sources in the BJP said.
Citizen activist Sai Datta, who has been campaigning against hoardings in Bengaluru, had approached the high court, which then issued notices to the BBMP and the state government on September 1.
The petitioner questioned the notification when rules governing outdoor advertising and signages were already issued in September 2019 under the Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Outdoor Signage and Public Messaging Bylaws, 2018. The petitioner pointed out that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Advertisement Rules, 2019 drafted in July 2019, were formally notified on July 26 when Yediyurappa resigned as CM.
The July 26 decision, in the absence of an elected city council, has also been criticised by civic groups and BJP leaders.