The drives of Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) to remove illegal advertisement boards at shops seems eyewash. After issuing 600 notices amounting to a fine of `5 crore in the past seven months for displaying surrogate advertisement hoardings or signage on their roofs and walls, the MC failed to collect it.
Surprisingly, only 20 violators have paid the fine and the MC never bothered to follow up with the violators. On the other hand, illegal hoardings continue to galore the city. As per record, there are around 10,000 illegal advertisements.
In the past seven months, the MC issued notices imposing a fine ranging from `18,000 to `36 lakh. The highest fine of `36 lakh was imposed on a jeweller in Manimajra and `24 lakh was imposed on shop owner in Sector 22, but not a single penny was collected from them.
When contacted, MC joint commissioner Rajeev Gupta said, “We are taking legal course for recovery.”
However, nothing has been done so far. The shopkeepers even alleged that the MC only issues show-cause notices to owners of only a few showrooms, even though the entire city is flooded with illegal advertisement boards.
The MC had issued notices to only about 600 violators and asked them to pay a fine of `100 a day as advertisement fee with effect from six months from the date of issue of notices, and further directed them to remove the boards.
The practice of displaying illegal advertisement hoardings or signages has been going on without any hindrance for the past two decades. The notices do not mention any penalty charges or interest amount, though under the UT Advertisement Control Order of 1954, there is a provision of heavy penalty and interest in addition to the assessed amount.
It has been learnt that showroom owners charge hefty rentals for advertisements.
“The problem is that the MC does not follow-up after issuing notices to violators. In most cases, violators approach the officers concerned and succeed in getting the dues waived. The officers, later, keep the files under wraps for several years,” said Arvind Jain, president, Vyapar Sadan.
Deputy mayor Davesh Moudgil described advertisement boards on shops as “visual pollution”. “The problem is that the MC issues notices with an exorbitant penalty. Because of this, the exercise is futile as neither the MC is able to collect any revenue nor does the violator pays anything.”
What act says?
As per the UT Advertise-ment Control Order of 1954, surrogate hoardings advertisement, hoardings or signages are not allowed on shops and buildings in Chandigarh.