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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Ads, billboards defacing city; what's MC doing?

Avninder Kaur , Hindustan Times  Amritsar, September 29, 2013
First Published: 21:51 IST(29/9/2013) | Last Updated: 22:50 IST(29/9/2013)

Lakhs of rupee spent on the renovation of city heritage buildings and cultural monuments will go in vain if overall look of the city is not worth saying good. Making a few buildings beautiful while neglecting the rest won't make Amritsar an attractive spot for tourists.

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Both the municipal corporation (MC) and common man have been casual and irresponsible toward the beauty and cleaning of the city. The boundaries of buildings and electricity as well as telephone poles along roads have become a convenient place for advertisers, and thanks to the MC's apathy that such practice has been going on unchecked turning the city into an ugly billboard.

The gigantic hoardings are inflicting no less. Damage to the city's overall look. The advertisements of political parties on every nook and corner are further defacing the city. With recent changes in political chairs, the city is flooded with hoardings of supporters.

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The hoardings erected before building eclipses its beauty and valuable information, and even important landmarks.

Similarly, the entire bus stand is covered by hoardings, making it difficult for commuters to read the basic information about the routes of buses. The scene at medical college is no better, as the hospital building is virtually covered by hoardings at SSSS Chowk.

When asked about defacement of the city, MC commissioner DPS Kharbanda said: "Not all hoardings are under the MC. There are near about 115 to 120 hoardings under the MC, which generates revenue for it. All the hoardings will be removed soon as per court's orders. We are waiting for the MC's contracts with companies to be over, thereafter, hoardings will not be rented out."

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Advertisements of private firms, even some displaying objectionable content, are lying on painted walls and poles even though the advertisement of medical remedies containing obscene language are illegal and punishable under Section 292, 293 of the Indian Penal Code for Obscene and Indecent Advertisement and Displays. Even the ads of magical remedies, which are liable to legal action under the Drugs and Magical Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act 1954, are being displayed without any heed to law or moral consideration.

Speak out

"You go to foreign countries and beautiful art works, statues, fountains welcome you, here its hoardings and posters on walls, torn sheets dangling on poles," said Harmeet Singh, a city resident.

"City never looked so ugly as I saw it in four-five decades. Buildings still have their beauty, but hoardings have ruined the heritage look,"said Harwinder Singh, a senior citizen.

"Hoardings and posters are misleading, as one cannot make out if they are name plates put outside the actual stores or just ads. The whole city has the same situation,"said Randeep Kaur, a housewife.

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