THE PANCHKULA Municipal Corporation (MC) has decided to dismantle and sell off all 50 unipoles installed across the town, including the ones around the roundabouts, that have been known to pose traffic hazards.
The decision was taken recently following uproar in the House meeting, over not being able to successfully utilise advertisements as the major source of revenue. Of a total Rs 3 crore revenue expected from advertisements in 2015-16, the MC has only received Rs 1.82 crore and Rs 1.15 crore is under dispute.
Highlighting that the location and size of the unipoles was in violation of the outdoor advertising policy of the Haryana Municipalities, Municipal Commissioner Jagdeep Dhanda said road safety has to be kept in mind and that the unipoles around the roundabouts pose traffic hazards.
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“As per the policy, outdoor advertising should not only be driven by revenue generation, but by the town’s development. It should add to its aesthetic beauty and not pose any traffic hazard. All the existing uni-poles are in violation of the policy, and so, we have decided to dismantle them and sell them as scrap,” said Dhanda.
As many as 46 new locations have been selected by a 15-member committee in Panchkula urban, where unipoles will be installed for advertising. “In future, the unipoles will be smaller than the existing ones and would only be allowed in the inner markets of residential sectors. There will be no unipole around the roundabouts or at road intersections,” added Dhanda.
For over an year, the civic body has been stuck in legal battles with the advertising companies. Outdoor Communications, whose five-year contract (2001-2015) was terminated in September last year is yet to pay Rs 1.15 crore to the corporation and the case is pending before the Panjab and Haryana High Court.
Exercising caution, the civic body had then invited fresh tenders in September, last year and added a clause that there should be no criminal proceedings against the company that wishes to participate. The clause led to the rejection of Cell Well Communications, who was one of the bidders, and the three-year contract was awarded to Pioneer Publicity Corporation. However, Cell Well challenged the decision in the High Court, which ordered a stay and the case is still pending.
“Advertisements are a major source of revenue and the MC has failed to make the most of it. The vacant unipoles have only given shabby look to the town in the past. We do not get quality contractors to work for us and end up with stalled projects,” said councillor C B Goel.
The corporation expects to earn Rs 5 crore in revenue from advertisements in 2016-17, as stated in the annual budget approved in the House meeting.