Just like previous years, it seems that in this financial year too municipal corporation (MC) will miss its budgetary target of generating income of Rs 4 crore from advertisements.
According to official sources, MC has generated only Rs 1.24 crore between April 2016 and January 31, 2017, against its target. With only 25 days left before the new financial year begins, it is highly unlikely that the civic body will be able to meet its target before March 31.
However, it has generated more income from advertisements this year as compared to previous two years. In 2014-15, the MC had generated only Rs 63 lakh against the target of Rs 3.5 crore while it generated Rs 1.14 crore against the target of Rs 3.7 crore in 2015-16.
MC sources said the failure to launch street furniture project and curb illegal hoardings in the MC limits have been the prime reasons for not meeting the target.
State of Art Street Furniture project
Despite making changes in the conditions of tenders for the project last year, the civic body failed to attract any bidders for the project. There are some councillors who have been alleging advertisement mafia behind the failure of these tenders.
Under this project, the selected firm was supposed to erect street furniture like unipoles, mupi, benches, dustbins, public utility including (drinking water facility and toilets) and others at various points where they would display advertisements. The selected firm was supposed to pay a fee for displaying advertisements to MC.
Though the project could not see the light of the day, the civic body had got a chance to generate income from 80 unipoles that were specially installed to display advertisements of the state government ahead of assembly elections. However, MC is yet to get the payment, the sources claimed.
Councillor from ward 18, Inderjit Aggarwal said, “The MC has also generated income from political hoardings during the assembly elections this year. If MC brings transparency in advertising, it can generate more revenue from advertisements. If the street furniture project for advertising is launched successfully, it can generate ₹25 crore per year.”
“If any shopkeeper wants to display big advertisements on shops, the MC should give permission and charge advertisement tax from them. Besides, the advertisement tax should be collected from the property owner where the advertisements are displayed,” he said.
Currently, the MC has given permission to display advertisements in 12 markets and malls of the city.
Sources said illegal hoardings and banners are common inside the MC limits but the authorities turn a blind eye toward them.
A resident, Satwinder Singh, said, “If the authorities take action against the illegal advertisements, the companies will start coming forward to take permission to display advertisements in a legal way in the areas under MC. It will be helpful for the civic body to generate more revenue.”
MC superintendent Harvinder Singh said the process is on to collect nearly Rs 86 lakh from the state government for displaying advertisements on unipoles at different areas in the city. He said they are expecting to generate more income in the next financial year as more unipoles will be installed in the city.