Punjab polls: Publicity banners ‘legal, free’ for SAD-BJP govt’s achievements, not for rest

According to the Municipal Corporation rules, advertisement that haven't been paid for cannot be put up within its jurisdiction.

Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana | Published:October 29, 2016 11:30 am
punjab, punjab elections, punjab assembly elections, badal government, badal government punjab Banners showcasing achievements of Badal government in Punjab. Express photo

The flyers and banners claiming the achievements of nine years of SAD-BJP rule in the states have cropped up across Ludhiana. All of then have slogans of the present regime – ‘Raj Nahi Sewa, Punjab Punjabiyaan Da’ – and photographs of deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal. However, these banners are in contravention to rules specified by the municipal corporation (MC).

According to the MC rules, advertisement that haven’t been paid for cannot be put up within its jurisdiction.

The tehbazaari department which pulls down all such “illegal” banners on daily basis of residents promoting their businesses without paying MC or taking permission has taken no such action against the SAD-BJP banners installed at posh markets and residential areas of the city.

SAD district president Madan Lal Bagga said that he is unaware of who installed “illegal banners”. “We are aware of unipoles which have been legally hired by public relations (PR) department from MC but not about these banners,” said Bagga.

Officially, the PR department of Punjab government has already ‘legally’ hired 100 unipoles in the city for Rs 26 lakh per month, which it is paying to MC. The entire Ferozepur Road stretch has such unipoles with Sukhbir’s photos and ‘achievements’ put on them. Apart from this, 42 other sites in city including foot over bridges, flyovers etc have been earmarked for SAD-BJP publicity till code of conduct is not imposed.

However, a source from the PR department confirmed to The Indian Express that these illegal banners too had been installed on the orders of PR department itself. “These banners have been installed after the nod from PR department. Till code of conduct is not imposed, we will be putting them in different areas. No, we did not take any permission for them for MC and they were installed after orders from PR department,” said the official.

Ghanshyam Thori, Ludhiana MC commissioner however said that ‘banners which are illegal for common people will be treated so for SAD-BJP too and they will be removed’.

“We have rented our 100 unipoles to government PR department for pre-poll publicity for Rs 26,000 per unipole per month but putting these banners without taking permission from MC is illegal. Tehbazaari department pulls down all such illegal hoardings on daily basis and these too will be removed,” he said to The Indian Express.
Asked why banners have been illegally put despite government hiring so much of publicity space from MC, Prabhdeep Singh Nathowal, DPRO Ludhiana said, “Maybe the advertiser hired for the purpose goofed up and installed banners at wrong places. We will get them corrected.”