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Economic slowdown gives politicians tax-free ride to publicity

The economic slowdown has proved a blessing in disguise for political parties and leaders.

Written by NitinPatil | Pune |
February 17, 2009 1:28:28 am

The economic slowdown has proved a blessing in disguise for political parties and leaders. The hit taken by the hoarding business has left lots of space available in the city,and politicians are cashing in on that,for free. They are paying no tax for banners and flex boards they have placed at locations where hoardings are usually seen.

The publicity material is there for all to see,but no action has come yet from the multipurpose (nuisance detection) squad of the Pune Municipal Corporation,whose responsibility it is to prevent such defacement.

Workers of political parties top the list of those putting up the banners. Various mandals,“prominent” citizens and self-styled activists are not far behind either.

Workers from parties including the Congress,the NCP,the BJP,the Shiv Sena,the MNS and the RPI,are crowding the chowks with banners. “A-year-and-a-half ago,the civic administration decided in a joint meeting that such posters and banners will be allowed only at 50 places; political parties had agreed. But the civic administration has not been firm on the decision. The only solution to this is firm action by the civic administration act which should pull down the publicity material,” activist Vivek Velankar said.

Ramesh Shelar,head of the civic anti-encroachment department,who has recently been appointed head of the multi-purpose squad,said,“Obviously,such political banners are a nuisance. We are now launching a special drive to keep a check on those who deface the city,be it putting up banners,spitting on the road or people relieving themselves in the open. The squad will start penalising people for such acts.”

The squad has supervisors and assistants. Each ward office has 20 assistants under a supervisor. All the 14 ward offices have these squads.

Municipal Commissioner Praveensinh Pardeshi had last year made a promise. “For a few months,members of the squad will be made to stand at fixed points on roads where people are more prone to dump garbage,spit,and deface the city. The same would be applicable to putting up posters and parking the vehicles wrongly. Some squad members would continue to stand at the same locations for months,until people stop such acts.”

But the promised change has not yet taken place.

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