In an apparent show of double standards, Chandigarh Municipal Corporation commissioner has issued a notice to Punjab Youth Congress to deposit Rs 67 lakh for using the civic body land to display posters and banners without permission. On the other hand, the MC has found no wrong in BJP putting party flags and banners across the city during the Prime Minister’s visit to Chandigarh on September 11.
The MC issued notice to the Punjab Youth Congress on September 14 for putting illegal hoardings and banners at the Sectors 15/16 roundabout and the road dividing Sectors 11 and 25. A copy of the notice had also been marked to district magistrate for initiating criminal proceedings against the youth wing of the Punjab Congress.
When contacted, MC assistant commissioner Bhupesh Chaudhary confirmed that the notice had been issued to the Youth Congress. On no action against the BJP, he said, “We we went to see violations on BJP’s part but found no hoardings and banners as they had already been removed,” he said.
Flags and banners of BJP were put up in large numbers across the city on September 10 late evening and were removed at around 4pm on September 11, soon after the PM had left the city. The flags and hoardings were put up without permission at all roundabouts leading to rally venue in Sector 25.
Chandigarh Congress chief Pardeep Chhabra said, “It is discrimination. Since the BJP is the ruling party at the Centre, babus can’t afford to take action against it. We will lodge a complaint with UT adviser Vijay Kumar Dev regarding the same.”
The notice has been issued under Advertisement Control Order 1954, which is applicable in Chandigarh.
No action on 1,300 notices issued in last one year
In a brazen example of non-serious approach of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, in the past one year, the civic body issued more than 1,300 notices for illegal display of hoardings, banners, etc. Had the civic body put its foot down to recover the money from the defaulters, it could have been rich by `12 crore.
These notices were issued in the year 2014 and seven days were given to the parties involved to deposit the advertisement fee or face legal proceedings.Even on August 4 this year, finance secretary of UT accorded permission to recover the said amount, but the municipal corporation to date has not even issued the letter to the district magistrate for the recovery.
The notices were issued to a number of shop owners and industries in Chandigarh. Such illegal hoardings can be found in different sectors of the city even today, pointing to nexus between traders and MC officials.