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Councillors need more time to finalise new ad policy

Admitting that none of the advertisement hoardings in the city are legal, the BBMP council on Monday said more time was needed to finalise the new advertisement policy

Cutting across party lines, councillors urged BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad to seek more time from the high court.

The new policy was proposed in the 2017-18 budget by the then chairperson of the BBMP’s Standing Committee for Taxation and Finance M.K. Gunashekar. However, but for one meeting, no discussion had been held to finalise the policy.

BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad informed the council that after implementation of GST, the civic body could not levy advertisement tax.

The court, which was hearing a case pertaining to hoardings, had been apprised that the BBMP was working on a new advertisement policy. He said the civic body would urge the HC to vacate the stays given to a few cases pertaining to advertisement hoardings.

Three types of hoardings

He explained that there were three types of hoardings – those on BBMP property, those on land owned by State and central departments, and those on private properties. A majority of the hoardings were on private properties. He claimed that of the 2,500 illegal hoardings, the civic body had removed 880. “Though we have floated a tender for the removal of the remaining hoardings, there has been no response,” he said.

He said the BBMP would give 15 days’ time to the owners of private properties to remove the hoardings and the structures. The civic body would write to the central and State departments requesting them to bring down the hoardings on their properties.

“The BBMP need not give any notice for the removal of hoardings. If the hoardings are not brought down in 15 days, we will file criminal cases against property-owners under the Karnataka Open Spaces (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981, under which the punishment is six months’ imprisonment and/or a penalty of Rs. 1 lakh,” he said.

What is allowed

About the advertisements on bus shelters, skywalks and metro pillars, Mr. Prasad said as long as flex material or any other banned material is not used, the advertisements would be allowed. This, as the civic body has accorded permission for the same. These agencies will be allowed to put advertisements until the end of the prescribed term.

Earlier, many councillors pointed out that there were many hoardings in playgrounds, police stations, temples and even graveyards. Opposition Leader Padmanabha Reddy said that the civic body must look into the advertisement policies of other cities. He sought to know the status of the demand notices issued to various agencies amounting to Rs. 369 crore.

Former mayor B.S. Sathyanarayan suggested that the civic body meet all stakeholders before finalising the new policy.

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