Flaying SAD-BJP, Sidhu promises Rs 300cr a year after new advt policy | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Flaying SAD-BJP, Sidhu promises Rs 300cr a year after new advt policy

Says previous regime’s policy earned Rs 275 cr less than the potential every year; alleges corruption to benefit firms backed by ruling parties

punjab Updated: Aug 13, 2017 09:15 IST
HT Correspondent
Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, accompanied by former customs officer SL Goyal, speaking at a press conference in Chandigarh on Saturday.
Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, accompanied by former customs officer SL Goyal, speaking at a press conference in Chandigarh on Saturday. (HT Photo)

Alleging “loss of crores” to the state exchequer because of “twists in the advertisement policy during the SAD-BJP regime”, Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday said a new advertisement policy is “coming soon” that would take the earnings from advertisements under local bodies from Rs 25 crore to Rs 300 crore a year.

Speaking at a press conference on it, Sidhu showed government records to strengthen the allegation of losses by showing how Haryana with 80 cities is earning Rs 200 crore through advertising whereas Punjab with 164 cities and towns is yielding only Rs 25 crore. “From Mohali alone, Rs 10 crore is being collected while the income from Zirakpur is Rs 2.5 crore per year, which clearly implies that the rest of Punjab accounts for a mere Rs 12.5 crore,” said the Congress minister. 

He added that the department has set a target of Rs 300 crore “as a city like Ludhiana alone has the capability to account for more than Rs 100 crore”. 

“By framing a new policy, we will make it happen,” he stressed. “The amount which till now was going into the pockets of companies backed by SAD-BJP leaders, will go to the state coffers.” 

He reiterated that root cause of the problem are “the toothless laws that are unable to punish those robbing the state exchequer” Nor are these laws strong enough to levy fines on defaulters, he said, adding, “A tough law will be enacted for effective implementation of the advertisement policy. Enforcement of this policy has the capacity to make urban bodies financially self-dependent.” 

An advertisement directorate will be established, too, to effectively implement the policy, and will have have powers to levy fines. 

He declared that the department will bring this policy to the cabinet and that he has already discussed the matter with chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh “at length”. 

Citing example

On his charges of losses, he cited an example of Ludhiana, where the previous regime constructed bus queue shelters and then used them for advertising purposes. “But these shelters were given away at rates lower than the market rates, which led to the enrichment of a private company having the backing of the son of a local Akali leader. An amount of Rs 100 crore that should have rightfully gone to the state, went to that company,” he alleged.