Following a week-long drive during which hundreds of illegal advertising unipoles were found across Ghaziabad city, the municipal corporation said they will send a Rs 7.5 crore recovery notice to each offender.
On May 5, a major advertising unipole had crashed on the busy Grand Trunk Road near river Hindon, injuring four commuters and damaging three vehicles. Following the incident, Ghaziabad district magistrate had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident and assigned the inquiry to a sub-divisional magistrate.
Municipal commissioner Abdul Samad claimed that the drive against illegal hoardings and advertising was carried out suo motu by the corporation.
“The notices will be sent to firms and private persons who had put up the illegal hoardings and advertising unipoles and earned revenues. We are also taking legal action against firms that have taken up city roads under agreement but violated the agreement norms,” he said.
As per the agreement conditions, the firms were assigned roads and they have arrange for lighting, bus shelters and maintenance of welcome gates. In lieu thereof, the firms get space to advertise products/services of their clients in order to generate revenue.
“I have issued a notice inviting statements from the public related to the May 5 incident. Even the corporation will have to submit documents related to the crashed unipole,” said Nitin Madaan, the inquiry officer.
“The road where the crashed unipole was installed was assigned to a private firm. The firm was assigned a total of 16 roads and we had previously cancelled the agreement for three roads. Thereafter, the firm went to the court and obtained a stay over the remaining roads. We will also approach court against the stay,” Samad said.
The drive against illegal hoardings and advertising is also fuelled by fear of action by the Allahabad High Court action on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an Indirapuram resident.
“During the next hearing, we will ask the corporation to submit the action taken against the illegal hoardings and advertising. There are a lot of places where political parties have displayed banners obstructing the signage on major roads. These also need to be cleared as directed by the court,” said Alok Kumar, the petitioner.
Kumar had moved the PIL in 2014 and sought the removal of all illegal hoardings and advertising in the city.
In its earlier direction in 2015, the court had directed Ghaziabad municipal commissioner to immediately take steps to remove all unauthorized hoardings and sought action on war footing.