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Civic body in a fix over politicians peering out of swine flu hoardings

Political leaders,mostly probable Assembly poll candidates and their supporters,have erected hoardings carrying information on ways to avoid and tackle the spread of H1N1 virus.

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune |
September 8, 2009 2:34:39 am

Political leaders,mostly probable Assembly poll candidates and their supporters,have erected hoardings carrying information on ways to avoid and tackle the spread of H1N1 virus. Though they have been claiming it as a public awareness campaign,the hoardings carry their names or photos along with the messages.

With election code of conduct coming into play,it is the task of the district administration to bring down the hoardings but will have to fill in the space themselves.

“We have started removing the illegal hoardings of political parties and leaders put up in the city as part of the implementation of the election code. Around 1,000 hoardings on swine flu too have been removed since they have been illegally put up by political leaders. The hoardings include either the name or photos of these leaders,” Ramesh Shelar,PMC in-charge of anti-encroachment department,said. He clarified that the civic administration is yet to act on any swine flu awareness hoardings that are on private property as the decision on them will be taken by the election office.

But the act of removing hoardings that spread awareness has not gone down well with the leaders. Former deputy mayor and Shiv Sena leader Chandrakant Mokate said,“Swine flu cases continue to claim lives in the city. Therefore,there is a need to go on with the awareness campaign.”

He said,“Leaders and workers undertook the awareness campaign to stop the spread of swine flu. The situation is still serious. The civic administration might be implementing the election code,but it should ensure that it would put its own hoardings with the same message at all places where it removes the hoardings,” he said,while suggesting that names of leaders or outfits in the hoardings should be erased.

PMC Deputy Municipal Commissioner Vilas Kanade said the PMC has been carrying out the awareness campaign on swine flu on its own by putting up its hoardings at various select places,distributing pamphlets and airing jingles on the radio.

“The campaigns by leaders too helped us in tackling the situation. But due to the code,we will have to remove the hoardings,” he said. “The civic body cannot replace them with its own hoardings as the number is too large,” Kanade said,adding that the possibility of removing the names could be explored.

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