DAYS AFTER alleging tax evasion by Fastway Cable Network Limited, Punjab’s Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu Saturday alleged an “advertisement scam” in the state that caused loss worth crores to the exchequer at the instance of the previous SAD-BJP government.
Addressing mediapersons, Sidhu said while advertisement sites in 80 cities of Haryana yield Rs 200 crore, 164 cities/towns of the Punjab yield a pittance of Rs 25 crore. “Mohali alone collects for us Rs 10 crore while the income from Zirakpur gets pegged at Rs 2.5 crore which clearly implies that the rest of Punjab accounts for a mere Rs 12.5 crore.
“He said his department has now set a target of Rs 300 crore income through advertising alone. “Ludhiana has the capability to account for more than Rs 100 crore income.” Sidhu said a comprehensive advertisement policy would be formulated to make urban local bodies economically self-dependent and ensure filling of state coffers instead of private pockets. An advertisement directorate would be established besides the enactment of a stringent law to effectively implement the policy. The directorate would have powers pertaining to attachment apart from levying fines.
He said the previous regime constructed bus queue shelters in Ludhiana and then used them for advertising purposes, causing a hugeoss of Rs 100 crore which instead of going to state’s exchequer went into private hands. These bus queue shelters were given away at rates lesser than market rates.