Furore at Palike meeting over 'ad mafia'

Furore at Palike meeting over 'ad mafia'

Corporators on Tuesday charged BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana with ‘abetting, encouraging and shielding’ corrupt officials in the advertisement section.

Lakshminarayana drew the ire of corporators during the BBMP Council meeting as his response to a question on unauthorised advertisements in the City failed to satisfy them.

To a starred question by BJP corporator from Kacharakanahalli ward, Padmanabha Reddy, BBMP officials gave a written reply that there were 2,044 authorised hoardings in 2009-10, which have now increased to 2,261, while the number of unauthorised hoardings is only 1,360.

Reddy termed the figures as ridiculous. He sought to know the action taken on a 38-hour video on illegal hoardings submitted by ruling party leader in the Palike Council N R Ramesh (BJP) to the BBMP commissioner and Mayor two years ago. The commissioner said, “I have directed my officials to watch the video. Our advertisement revenue is less, but we did book some cases regarding unauthorised hoardings.”

Peeved with the response, Padmanabha Reddy said that the commissioner had given a decent burial to an important issue. “Your officers are running a racket in connivance with Bescom officials. These officials can even work without salary in the advertisement section given the money involved there,” Reddy said.

Opposition Congress leader in the Palike Council B N Manjunath Reddy said that the ‘advertisement mafia’ was ‘ruling’ BBMP as the commissioner has a ‘soft corner’ for corrupt officials. Manjunath Raju of Kadu Malleswara ward said the total revenue from advertisements across the Palike limits was merely Rs 15 crore whereas the Kempegowda International Airport, which is spread over just five square kilometers, earns about Rs 200 crore from advertisements.

It was decided in the Council to pass a resolution on Wednesday to remove all the hoardings in the City.

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