A state-wide High Court ban on flex manufacturing has not yet been implemented and the use of flex banners is going unchecked.
Bangalore, February 6, 2018: With elections just around the corner, poll-bound parties are decking the town in flex banners despite a 2016 High Court ban.
The High Court had ruled earlier that manufacturing and selling of flex banners is banned in the state. In 2016, they had upheld BBMP’s order against use of plastic.
However, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Pallike (BBMP) has not yet issued any official notice on the ban on manufacturing and selling of flex banners.
During election campaigning and other political events the parties not in power, have used flex banners for displays. That is when the confusion arose and the stand on the ban was unclear.
Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) said they will campaign using flex banners as the rules proposed are not clear yet.
Dr Vaman Acharaya, spokesperson, BJP said, “We have to campaign for the upcoming elections. Personally speaking we were not aware that the flex manufacturers are facing so much hardship. There are no regulations around this ban by the government. If they are banning it then a law should be out and citizens should be made aware of it. BJP will use flex banners during the elections and there should not be any objection as there is no regulation in place for this.”
While the party in power in Karnataka is waiting for the Election Commission’s stand on the issue, they said they will do whatever is beneficial for the larger interest of the people involved.
B L Shankar, Vice President, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee said, “It all depends on the Election Commissioner and what he rules. Even for campaigns, we have to keep in mind the expenditures that we will incur. Also, flex is not suitable for environment and cloth banners are recyclable hence we are going to proceed with whatever the government says. Therefore we are planning to campaign with cotton cloth banners.”
However, flex banners of the Congress party can be seen at many places in the city.
Mohammad Shoaib,a flex manufacturer from Jayanagar, said, “The BBMP claims to have issued formal notices to flex manufacturers, but I have not received any notice. Because of this confusion, our business has incurred losses. This is because we do not know if we should continue to manufacture and sell them or not.”
He added, “I had applied for a loan to buy printing machines, and the loan has been approved. I have not yet claimed the amount because I do not know if the BBMP will ban it. If they ban it, my funds on the new machine will go down the drain.”
Flex banners range from Rs.15 per square feet and go up to Rs. 25 per square feet. While in comparison, cotton banners are expensive and cost around Rs.50 per square feet. So, flex banners are cheaper than cotton banners.
Aamir G, Spectra Signs, a flex manufacturer in Bommanahali, said “We also have not been issued any official notice from the BBMP regarding this. I only got to know about this through a forward on WhatsApp. We will have to pay Rs 2 lakh if we are found violating the rules, our materials will get seized and our licence will be cancelled. So, to be on the safer side I have already switched to fabric printing so that I do not get into any trouble.”
As the BBMP has not issued any notice, the customers come to know about the ban when the shopkeepers refuse to print flex banners.
Aishwariya, who wanted to get a flex made for her mother’s boutique, said, ” I learnt about the flex banners issue when I went to get the banner printed. I did not know anything related to this earlier. This (Outside Flex Manufacturers, Jayanagar) is the second shopkeeper who tells me about this. At the first instance I thought, they are saying this because they wanted to earn more, but now I have come to know about the ban.”
Kshitij, an environmentalist, said, “Plastic disposal is tedious; burning of plastic causes environmental degradation. There is no alternate way of disposal of flex banners. So, there should be a thorough research that goes behind this and there should be a consensual decision taken to ban these banners.”
Natesh, Head of BBMP’s advertising wing said they had not put out any official notice to flex vendors in the city.