The illegal hoardings in the city are increasing dayby-day. The lax attitude of the Patiala municipal corporation (MC) has helped in the mushrooming of these hoardings which have defaced the city royale. From entry to exit, visitors are welcomed and thanked by these illegal hoardings.
The Patiala outdoor media policy framed in 2014 states that hoardings would be only allowed at specific places. Despite several attempts, the municipal corporation seems to be vulnerable in tackling the problem. Illegal hoardings could be spotted across the city, including strategic locations like Leela Bhawan, Gurdwara Dukhniwaran Sahib, Fountain Chowk, YPS Chowk and Bus Stand.
In putting the illegal hoardings, the SAD-BJP leaders lead the race and are followed by Aam Aadmi Party and Congress leaders. The immigration consultants, religious, educational and welfare organisations are following these political leaders closely. The MC’s “Amrut Scheme” hoardings can itself be found on the main bus stand flyover, which is illegal.
When the acting authority itself is found violating the law, how can one expect them to act against others?
Meanwhile, when Shiromani Akali Dal announced Harinderpal Singh Chandumajra and Satbir Singh Khatra as constituency in-charges of Sanaur and Patiala (rural), respectively, their supporters put illegal hoardings to congratulate their bosses. Claiming itself to be different from the traditional parties, the Aam Aadmi Party is not far behind in the race of defacement, as posters of their leaders can often be found on the walls and the traffic lights. The Congress party leaders have gone a step further as they have put illegal hoardings even on the Punjab tourism department direction board.
Not only political parties, immigration consultants put their advertisement boards in the markets and car parkings. Meanwhile, some religious and welfare associations, too, are defacing the city with hoardings in the name of religion and social work.
Amitoz Singh, a local resident, said the hoardings installed on the roads invite road accidents, as they divert the attention of the drivers on national highways. “Most of the times these hoardings are placed in risky manners by using thin metal wires and structural quality are also compromised,” he said.
Gurwinder Shergill, a research scholar, said political leaders had the tendency to display their photographs. “But they don’t bother that by doing so, they are tarnishing the image of the city,” he said.
Patiala MC commissioner PS Gill said, “We are taking strict actions against violators on the regular basis. We will also remove MC hoardings of ‘Amrut Scheme’ which are installed at illegal places.”