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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Polls near, MC stance unclear on political hoardings in Amritsar

Shaheen P Parshad, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, March 02, 2014
First Published: 00:37 IST(2/3/2014) | Last Updated: 00:38 IST(2/3/2014)

Even as the Lok Sabha polls are coming near, the Amritsar Municipal Corporation (AMC) is yet to chalk out an action plan on political banners and hoardings that come up in violation of the election code of conduct.

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Political parties of all hues place their billboards and signage at every available space during the election time, with the municipal corporation hardly bothering to remove those violating the code of conduct.

In the past too, the municipal corporation had earned the notoriety for being soft against political parties by not charging any fee from them even as they were supposed to.

The poster cutouts of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal used during a recent rally are proof of the extent to which politicians go to grab the people’s attention.

And the problem is likely to multiply as the election race hots up in the days to come. Some feel that political hoardings could help the MC raise money to overcome fund crunch it faces.

As the trend of using unipoles fades out, defacement of public property will be rampant in the days to come with the electioneering gains momentum in the city. However, the municipal corporation is yet to hold a meeting to clear its stance on the issue.

Municipal commissioner DPS Kharbanda said the state-level policy currently in force across Punjab would apply to all the banners and hoardings coming up during the election time.

“The charges for political hoardings will be in accordance with the rates of for the same prevailing across the state,” the municipal commissioner said.

He admitted that no meeting has been held to identify dedicated spots for putting election hoardings or chalk out criteria for dealing with banners or signage that come up in violation of election code of conduct.

“So far no meeting has been held in this regard. The unauthorised hoardings would be dealt in accordance with the high court’s directives on illegal hoardings,” he said.

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