Better late than never. Patiala Municipal Corporation authorities have finally decided to come up with an outdoor advertisement policy following several directives from the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the past years.
With formulation of a dedicated advertisement policy, stipulating specific norms for placing bill boards and hoardings, the civic body authorities will be able to put those involved in defacement of public places in the city and government offices under check.
Defacement of public property has turned out to be a major problem as several public places of the city could be seen dotted with unchecked hoardings, billboards and posters.
MC Commissioner Parminder Singh Gill said the blue print of advertisement policy has already been drafted following the orders of the high court.
Taking serious note of road accidents caused due to bill boards and big hoardings, the high court has directed all corporations across the state to form a proper advertisement policy. Not only these illegal hoardings deface the city space but also cause revenue loss to civic body.
"We have already submitted an undertaking in the High court on Friday regarding constitution of the high-level committee as ordered by the court in the past. The committee members would give suggestions regarding bylaws to be compiled in the final draft of the advertisement policy", Gill said.
Headed by commissioner himself, the committee is comprises senior officials of different public departments and a Deputy Superintendent of police-level officer.
Gill said the civic body has also hired a private company to conduct a survey in the city in order to identify particular places for installing hoarding and bill boards.
"We will submit the final draft of the advertisement policy in the high court which will give final approval to the policy for its implementation", Gill said.
Meanwhile, the civic body authorities can also take action against the defaulters under Punjab Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1997 but its poor implementation has exposed the negligent attitude of authorities.
MC sources revealed that despite severe violations of the Act, authorities have failed to impose fine on any of the defaulters.
As per the Act, any person, who defaces any property in public view by writing or marking with ink, chalk, paint or any other material or by erecting stuffs, banners or by pasting notices and writing slogans without the written permission of the owner of the property shall be punishable with imprisonment and fine both.
The illegal hoardings can be commonly spotted at the bus stand, Model Town, lower Mall road, Khanda Chowk, Bhupindra road, Passey road, Sant Nagar, Leela Bhawan, Sangur road, Rajpura road and Chhoti Baradari.