Kochiites are no longer amused by calls for ban as the have seen the shoddy implementation of many. The latest in the series is a ban announced by the corporation in its last council meeting to make Kochi begging-free. The decision is in the wake of rising cases of kidnappings and law and order issues.
Soon, all agencies and organisations concerned were called for a meeting and it was announced that the ban will come into force within 100 days. If the ban is indeed implemented, Kochi won't have any beggars by June. But will it happen? If you look at the history of bans, one can understand that even the question is misplaced. Because, even those bans that could have been implemented easily were not taken seriously.
Plastics faced the most number of bans in Kochi. In the past two decades, the council debated several times measures to drive out plastics from the city. During the present council too, there was an announcement to 'strictly' ban plastics below 20 microns. But the ban has largely remained on paper. The plastic, which is most dangerous for environment, is still available in the city, and continues to pose serious environment problems.
All corporation councils religiously ban illegal cables and posts. The present council too didn’t break with the tradition. But, despite the ban, the entire city is entangled in cables. Since directives and bans were not working, the corporation officials last month launched an initiative to remove all illegal cables. But, since the inauguration, further action has hit the slow lane.
Overtaking of buses
If all other bans were by the corporation, the move to reign in killer private buses was by the regional transport authority. It banned overtaking by buses on city roads. Together with the ban that was announced a few years ago, the speed limit was also fixed at 40 kmph. The ban was endorsed by the high court too. But it was not enforced not even fora single day. The speeding of buses and their overtaking continue to terrorise Kochiites.
The number of licensed roadside eateries in the city is less than 200. However, the actual number of roadside eateries in the city is several-fold higher. With complaints rising about mushrooming of roadside eateries, the corporation last year banned all eateries without licences. Hygiene, health and rising garbage issues prompted the corporation to announce the ban. The mayor and councillors also pointed out that there is an active lobby behind them and same individuals own eateries at several areas in the city. In the first phase of the ban, eateries from Durbar hall to the high court junction were to be evicted. But, today, cocking a snook at the corporation, all the eateries are back. Besides, there were pressure on the corporation authorities against the eviction drive. In the end, like all the bans, this one too bit the dust. Today, more eateries and shops have come up on roadsides in several areas of the city. In many places, they have taken over roads and footpaths. And, the corporation continues to turn a blind eye towards this menace.
The only places that do not have illegal boards and notices in the city are the Metro rail lines, its stations and Vyttila Mobility Hub. If you put up ads illegally in these places, you can get caught, and end up in jail or pay a fine. Since it is enforced strictly, these places are squeaky clean. Other than these places, ads have taken over the city. Most of these ads are illegal. The present corporation council too have banned these illegal boards. The ban called for strict action and a fine. But those who benefited from the ban were some officers. All the flex boards and notices put up by political parties are illegal. One can find such boards even inside the corporation’s office premises, making the ban nothing but a farce.