Kochi: After the ‘eco-friendly’ campaign during the local body polls last year, political parties have renewed their ‘flex’ battle this time that has prompted the Department of Environment and Climate Change to mull action against their ‘overuse.’
In regions like Ernakulam, local cadres of political fronts are literally indulging in ‘flex war’ by setting up numerous flex boards even for raising allegations and counter charges. The instances can be seen at places like Thevara market bridge and Elamakkara.
“They have set up three flex boards in the space of a week along the narrow bridge near the Thevara market. And the funny thing is that it’s not any election promise but just charges and counter charges about the ‘unscientific’ construction of the market. The sarcastic writing with film dialogues is gaining attention of the riders, posing danger especially to two-wheel riders,” said A. Navas, an autorickshaw driver at the market stand.
This, despite the party leaders of all main parities promising to cut down on flex board use and switch to cloth banners. “Even during the recent ‘Jana Raksha Yatra’ by KPCC president V.M. Sudheran, Congress made efforts to use only eco-friendly publicity materials. However, flex board usage has gone up again due to cheap rates and minimal time for making them. It costs only Rs 10 to 12 for printing a sqft flex board while an artist will have to be paid Rs 1,000 for a day’s work,” said Shaji Netoor, an artist engaged in wall writing and making cloth banners.
However, authorities like the Pollution Control Board, department of Environment and Climate Change and the police are taking steps to control the flex usage. “The department of Environment and Climate Change is taking action to control use of flex boards that includes writing to the Election Commission to direct political parties to restrict their use besides making effective recycling programmes. The flex banner is made of pollution-causing material and emits toxic fumes if burnt,”said K. Sajeevan, chairman of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board.
Similarly, Kochi city police Commissioner M.P. Dinesh said action will be initiated to remove all flex boards and banners set up at key points of roads
that affected vehicle riders’ concentration.