Why renew ad licence despite ban, Upa Lokayukta asks Palike boss

Why renew ad licence despite ban, Upa Lokayukta asks Palike boss

The Upa Lokayukta, Justice Subhash B Adi, has issued a notice to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Administrator, T M Vijay Bhaskar, on why he is renewing advertisement licences, though a resolution by the Palike council bans all types of hoardings in the City.

The Upa Lokayukta has directed the administrator to explain whether he has the power to take a decision when the council’s decision is pending before the government and whether all irregularities in the advertisement division have been rectified.

The ombudsman’s office received several complaints about irregularities in the BBMP’s advertisement division.

Preliminary enquiry had revealed that there were large-scale irregularities and illegalities in the renewal of advertisement permissions and that some renewals were made without recovery of tax and penalty. The Upa Lokayukta had also ordered the Lokayukta police to investigate the advertisement hoardings scam in the BBMP.

Unanimous decision
“The then BBMP council had taken a unanimous decision to totally ban advertisements in the BBMP limits on a par with Chennai and this decision was sent to the State government for approval. In my report, I had suggested that the policy be systematically regulated instead of imposing a total ban so that the BBMP may earn substantial revenue. The government has not taken any decision or formulated any policy. It is surprising that the BBMP administrator appears to have taken a decision to renew advertisement licences for the year 2015-16,” Justice Adi stated.
The Upa Lokayukta has directed Bhaskar to explain whether as an administrator he has the competence to override the decision of the BBMP council.

Explanation sought
He also demanded whether all irregularities were rectified and any policy was adopted in issuing permission or renewal of advertisement licences. Besides, whether the money due since long from many advertising agencies has been recovered. The notice also asks the administrator to explain what action has been taken against the violators.

The BBMP administrator has been directed to file the reply in person on Monday.

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