Even as 100s of illegal political religious hoardings continue to flood the city’s landscape, information obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that there are only 21 spots where hoardings and that too of religious nature can be installed legally. It has also been revealed under the information that the MC has not granted any permission to allow political hoardings.
This fact came to light on a petition filed by Rohit Sabharwal, president of the Council of RTI Activists. The reply to his petition revealed that religious hoardings can be installed at 21 places (two hoardings at each place) for seven days before any religious event without any charges. It was also made known that no income has been generated from illegal political and religious hoardings since April 2014. The decision of fixing spots for advertisements had been taken at a Finance and Contract Committee meeting in 2010.
Places where religious hoardings are allowed
In Zone A, hoardings can be installed near the Daresi ground, Basti Jodhewal, the New Civil Hospital, near Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib and the under-bridge near the cremation ground on Gaushala Road.
In Zone B, hoardings can be installed at the Cheema Chowk, Soofia chowk, the Focal point near the Dhandari Bridge, Sherpur Chowk, Jeevan Nagar and Chandigarh Road.
In Zone C, the areas near Vishwakarma chowk, Arora palace, Partap chowk and Dholewal Chowk were selected for religious hoardings.
In Zone D, areas near Dandi Swami Chowk, Haibowal Chowk, Model Town Extension, Durga Mata Mandir, Ishmeet Chowk and Kitchlu Nagar are earmarked. In all other areas, hoardings are not allowed.
In spite of directions from the Punjab and Haryana high court, the MC has failed to ensure action against illegal hoardings. No document regarding this was provided in response to the RTI reply.
The council of RTI activists claimed that they will move the HC again if the MC authorities turned a blind eye over the violations. MC’s advertisement wing superintendent Harvinder Singh claimed that all illegal religious and political hoardings had been removed.