Tribune News Service
Patiala, October 13
While owners of business establishments who flout the outdoor advertising laws are issued challans, the Municipal Corporation here does not issue challans to political leaders who also install flex boards illegally and in violation of the Outdoor Advertisement Act. Such flex boards and posters are merely removed. This is despite the fact that apart from causing defacement, the practice of installation of illegal flex boards of all kinds leads to loss of income for the Municipal Corporation.
As per records, the Municipal Corporation reduced its target income from outdoor advertisements this year. A look at its yearly income from outdoor advertisement shows it managed to collect merely 5.7 per cent of its targeted advertisement revenue of Rs 5 crore in financial year 2020-21. It had failed to allocate tenders for outdoor advertisements despite seven repeated attempts. Thereafter, income from outdoor advertisement for the current year was reduced to Rs 2 crore. An official of the MC said: “All illegally installed flex boards are removed from time to time. We also issue challans. But the political class goes scot-free due to their influence. There is fear of action from senior political bosses in case we issue challans for their hoardings or remove them before their intended time.”
MC Commissioner Poonamdeep Kaur said, “The owners of business establishments put up posters or banners for commercial purpose but the political banners carry congratulatory messages. We also carry out our regular exercise and remove them from time to time.”
The MC Commissioner confirmed that the banners installed by political leaders also cause defacement similar to that caused by other banners. She said “They also cause defacement but are not for commercial purposes. They install such hoardings for a day or two and we remove them as well.”
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