Civic body’s double standards in removing illegal hoardings

  • Hillary Victor, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Dec 04, 2015 11:52 IST
An illegal hoarding being removed in Sector 22, Chandigarh. (Keshav Singh/HT )

Removal of nearly 250 unauthorised advertisements from outside several shops in different sectors without issuing any previous notice in the last two days has highlighted the double standards of the municipal corporation.

Around 18 months back, over 1,300 notices were issued for displaying hoardings, banners, etc, “illegally without any approval from the competent authority”. The MC had even admitted that it failed to recover over `11 crore.

The shopkeepers have asked why the notices were not issued before removing the illegal hoardings this time too.

KD Sharma, in-charge, MC advertisement cell, said, “I have no role to play in the removal of these advertisements, and moreover I have joined two months back only.”

However, the prime responsibilities of Sharma as advertisement cell in-charge include issuing notices and recovering challans amounting to crores.

It has been alleged that before removal of these unauthorised advertisements, no approval was sought from the competent authority. It’s been over a year that the MC has not moved an inch towards recovering the amount from the defaulters, mainly including famous jewellers, eateries, reputed shops, and shops in malls.

Nominated councillor Surinder Bahga said, “As per the law, the MC should have filed a recovery suit with the district magistrate, with a copy of the defaulters attached to it. However, by turning a blind eye towards the recovery issue, a huge loss has been caused to the exchequer. Under the Advertising Control Order, 1954, the permission should have been sought from the competent authority, which is the MC commissioner in this matter.” Mayor Poonam Sharma said, “Since it’s a serious matter, an explanation will be sought from the officials concerned for causing the loss to the exchequer.”

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