The UT municipal corporation has once again opted to take a soft stand on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over continuous violations of the Advertisement Control Order Act, 1954.
While the MC on April 12 had removed illegal hoardings installed by the Punjab BJP in Sector 37 to welcome newly elected president Vijay Sampla, it is yet to issue them any notice.
Also, even after seven months, the MC has not issued any notice to Chandigarh BJP for installing party flags and banners on all roundabouts of the city during the Prime Minister’s visit on September 11 last year. Surprisingly, the MC had removed them late in the evening after the function got over and the PM left the venue. The flags were displayed without any permission at the roundabouts leading to the rally venue in Sector 25.
On the issue, MC joint commissioner Varinder Chaudhary said, “As I got the charge of the advertisement department a few months back, I am not aware of the September 11 issue. As far as the illegal hoardings installed by the BJP on April 12 are concerned, we are calculating the fine and action will be taken after approval of the MC commissioner.”
Chandigarh Congress chief Pardeep Chhabra said, “It is discrimination on the MC’s part as the BJP is the ruling party. We will lodge a complaint with the UT adviser regarding the same.”
MC fails to take action against Cong too
On September 16 last year, the then MC commissioner Bhawna Garg had issued a notice to Punjab Youth Congress to deposit Rs 67 lakh fine for installing illegal hoardings and banners at the Sectors 15-16 roundabout and the Sector 11-25 dividing road, but the MC has not made any efforts to recover the amount to date.
A copy of the notice had also been marked to the district magistrate for initiating criminal proceedings against the party’s youth wing.
Even, notices were issued to a number of student leaders of Panjab University for installing banners and defacing property.
No action on 1,300 notices for past 2 years
In a brazen example of the MC’s lackadaisical approach, the civic body has failed to take any action to recover Rs 12 crore for the more than 1,300 notices issued for displaying illegal hoardings and banners in the past two years.
Even on August 4 last year, UT finance secretary had given nod to the recovery of the said amount, but the MC has not even issued letter to the district magistrate for the same to date.
The notices were also issued to shop owners, industries and jewellers in the city for displaying hoardings and banners. Hundreds of such illegal hoardings are found in different sectors, which continue to be displayed unabated in the city.