While permission is taken in the name of religious functions,hoardings with photographs of political leaders are put up across the city,throwing an egg on the face of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.
The MC,which does not have any clear policy on religious boards and hoardings,maintains that it is not allowing political and commercial hoardings to deface the city but the practice goes on unabated in the city.
An example of this was on full display at Jagraon bridge where a large-size hoarding announcing Valmiki Jayanti Shobha Yatra on October 17 has actually covered the direction board put up by the government.
The hoarding,which has photos of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and other Akali leaders on it,has covered the directions shown towards Ambala,Chandigarh and New Delhi,causing a lot of inconvenience to the commuters.
This comes after Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria himself claimed and announced that Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal gets very upset seeing city full of hoardings with his photos and wants them to be removed immediately.
When contacted,Gohalwaria said,Yes,its true that the Deputy CM himself told us to get all hoardings with political faces removed as they deface the city. Following his instructions,we started a drive and removed all unipoles. I am not aware of new hoardings coming up. I will get them removed and tell tehbazaari head to do it immediately.
However,additional commissioner Isha Kalia,who is also head of new outdoor advertising policy,said,We generally allow hoardings for religious functions,provided they submit a written request or even inform us verbally and promise that hoardings will be removed after the function. We have specified 27 sites for this purpose but people are not following our instructions. We need to spread awareness that covering direction boards and flooding city with hoardings is wrong and not acceptable.
Davinder Singh,head of tehbazaari wing and incharge of inquiry committee,said,We make constant efforts to remove illegal hoardings but I agree that in festival season the number of hoardings exceeds a tolerable limit. But still we are trying.
Slapping incident: No outcome yet
Recently,MC tehbazaari superintendent Rajeev Bhardwaj was slapped by sweeper and MC employee Ravi in his office accompanied by Yashpal Chaudhary from Bhartiya Valmiki Dharam Samaj. This happened when Bhardwaj asked them to take permission from Isha Kalia for putting up hoardings in city for Valmiki Jayanti.
While the three-member committee formed by MC commissioner Rahul Tewari has reached no conclusion even after 15 days,the Samaj has flooded the city with their hoardings and that too with photos of SAD leaders.
Laxman Dravid,director of Samaj,said,We can put up the religious hoardings the way we want to. MC cannot stop us from doing this.
However,Bhardwaj said,So far,no inquiry has been conducted by the committee which is really disappointing. MC is not taking any stand against injustice done with their employee.
A S Sekhon,a part of the committee,said,We have called a meeting on the matter on Tuesday.