| Workers put up an Adhikar Rally hoarding at Maurya Lok Complex in Patna on Saturday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Patna, Oct. 27: The cash-strapped Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) is estimated to have suffered a revenue loss of around Rs 15 lakh over the past four months when the ruling Janata Dal (United) coloured the city with green by putting up hundreds of posters and hoardings at all nooks and corners for its Adhikar Rally slated for November 4.
According to sources, the JD(U) has used nearly 50,000 square feet of advertisement space across the state capital for putting up different kinds of banners and hoardings for the much-hyped rally to garner support for special status tag for Bihar. Around 27,500 square feet of advertisement space has been used for this purpose only between Bailey Road and Gandhi Maidan.
he rate for advertisement space on government land is Rs 80 per square feet per annum and that on private land Rs 10 per square feet per annum.
Most hoardings for the rally are on government land.
The posters show chief minister Nitish Kumar with prominent leaders of the JD(U), including strongman-turned-MLA Anant Singh, national president Sharad Yadav, state chief Bashishtha Narayan Singh, minister Shyam Rajak and MP Ranjan Yadav. One of the posters put up at Gate Number-3 of Maurya Lok Complex — where the PMC headquarters are located — shows mayor Afzal Imam as well.
Rup Narain Mehta, deputy mayor of PMC, told The Telegraph on Saturday: “All posters and hoardings for Adhikar Rally have been put up illegally. Surveyors and officers concerned in the corporation have informed me that no permission has been taken for any of these billboards nor any payment has been made against them. The corresponding loss is expected to be in lakhs. Adhikar Rally does not mean that taxes are not to be paid and the civic body should suffer such heavy losses.”
Abha Lata, member of the PMC’s standing committee and councillor from ward number 4, told The Telegraph: “Most political banners in the city are illegal. It is very rare that political parties make payments to PMC for putting up billboards. Moreover, as this is the case of the ruling party, payment for their billboards is anyone’s guess. Municipal bodies like PMC are autonomous with respect to generation of revenue and, therefore, such losses lead to an immense financial burden.”
Mayor Afzal Imam, on the other hand, appeared to be defending the Adhikar Rally hoardings. “These billboards and posters are not put up by some commercial organisations with money-making motives and therefore the PMC is at times liberal with them. Hence, these cannot be termed as completely illegal,” said Imam.
Imam said all billboards in the city are allotted to different advertisement agencies which collect payments from those who wish to use the space. “The payments for Adhikar Rally posters put up on big billboards have been made by the party,” the mayor contended.
But JD(U) spokesperson Niraj Kumar said the party has not spent a single paisa on this. “The party has not undertaken any official procedure for making payment against any of the hoardings and posters for the Adhikar Rally. All such hoardings have been put up by individual party workers. PMC is an independent body and it should ensure implementation of the rules,” Kumar said.