Though Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal ordered 'immediate' removal of illegal hoardings across the state in the first week of December, Kapurthala is still flooded with illegal hoardings.
The district administration and the police have also failed to take any action
The illegal hoardings were erected by political parties, religious organisations and business houses and carry the pictures of prominent personalities along with state and national leaders.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal during his recent visit to Goraya had categorically stated that it was district administration's responsibility to ensure the implementation of the outdoor advertisement policy passed by the state cabinet.
"I have asked the deputy commissioners (DCs) and district police chiefs concerned to take requisite legal action against such violators," he had said, adding that nobody would be allowed to deface the cities.
HT team found that putting up such hoardings was now a child's play, with all major roads flooded with hoardings/signboards.
At the Jallowkhana Chowk, large billboards have been put by the BJP and the Congress. The billboards carry photographs of all prominent leaders and is known to have distracted drivers, leading to accidents.
The gate of historic Shalimar Bagh of the city, which houses the office of municipal council Kapurthala, is also covered by hoardings put up by Aggarwal Paints and Future point. Another hoarding, installed in above of these contains pictures of local MLA Rana Gurjit Singh, his wife Rajbans Kaur and others. Outside Shalimar Bagh, the hoardings are also there put by Lok Bhalai Sangarsh Morcha, Punjab, Idea and Axis Bank.
At the bus stand, hoardings have been put up by Dr SM Thapar, wishing citizens merry Christmas.
At Ramnik Chowk, a hoarding has been put up by XL overseas Pvt. Ltd; near Moorish Mosque, Samsung Mobiles greet you on temporary poles. At the Model Town Chowk, Ravi Dental Hospital has put up a hoarding.
Illegal hoardings can also be seen near Civil Hospital, Amritsar Road, Jalandhar Road and Sultanpur Lodhi Road. All these areas of the city had been used freely by the advertisers without taking mandatory permission from the administration.
District magistrate Alaknanda Dayal was not available in the city and HT enquiries revealed that in the capacity of district magistrate, she had failed to issue any order banning illegal-hoardings in the district.
When contacted, SSP Kapurthala Inderbir Singh confirmed that they had not booked any person under Punjab Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1997. "I will look into the matter and legal action will be taken against the defaulters," he said.
Additional deputy commissioner (general) Gurpreet Singh Khaira, said, "The government had fixed the responsibility of identifying the places for advertisements on executive officers of local government offices. We will ask them to come up with the earmarked areas where these hoardings could be displayed."
Executive officer of municipal council, SK Aggarwal said, "We have removed hundreds of illegal hoarding in December. In the last fortnight, employees were diverted to conducting a survey on property tax and the removal of hoardings was stalled."
When reminded of the open defacement of the gate of Shalimar Bagh in which municipal council office is situated, he said, "Son, all illegal hoardings would be removed from the city."
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