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Mehakdeep Grewal, Hindustan Times
Patiala, September 14, 2013
Gone are those days when Patiala was known for its aristocratic forts reflecting the Rajashthani and Pahadi architecture attracting surge of tourists in the royal city. Wondering why? Well, courtesy the political banners and posters, that mar the city's skyline.
Politicians have always been using banners, posters and hoardings to publicise their ideas; but in Patiala, political leaders, especially with the SAD-BJP government brazenly deface the public and private property across the city with billboards and hoardings.

Photos of ministers and legislators glued to walls and light poles will greet you as you take a stroll in the city.

Heritage buildings like the four gates, with great historical significance have also not been spared by the leaders.

Those responsible for defacing the city aesthetic values are enjoying freedom as the administration has been ignorant towards the issue and reluctant to book the miscreants. Restoring the city's beauty has also been left to the lurch.
Locals alleged that it is high time authorities should wake up to mend the skyline of Patiala.

Government buildings and educational institutes such as Punjabi university campus dotted with banners and hoardings prove that they have also been affected by this malpractice.

Harbans Kaur, resident of Passey Road, said, "There will be a birthday of some leader or the other throughout the year. Does that mean we keep defacing our city by putting up congratulatory banners, just to please the party hierarchy?"
Sonu Kumar, a Leela Bhawan resident said, "Party supporters compete to erect large banners to impress their bosses. But no one bothers to take permission from the authority concerned."

Even the entertainment industry has left no stone unturned to deface the city's skyline. Defying the existing rules, the malpractice continues.

Sources said billboards issued by mayor Amarinder Bajaj and former mayor Jaspal Pradhan, revealing the civic authorities apathy.

While the municipal corporation, following the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, had recently removed all hoardings in the city, it later installed some hoardings of its own.

Areas like Bus stand, Model Town, Lower Mall Road, Khanda Chowk, Bhupindra Road, Passey Road, Sant Nagar, Leela Bhawan, Sangur Road, Rajpura Road and Chotti Baradari, are majorly wrapped in advertisements.

Although the MC has earmarked special spots for installation of billboards, for which special permission has to be sought and an amount should be paid according to the norms.

Sources in the MC said, "No political leader has deposited a penny before installing the billboards, nor have they sought permission from the civic body."