Chandigarh, August 12
Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Saturday alleged that Punjab had incurred a loss of Rs 2,500 crore on outdoor advertising in the 10 years of the SAD-BJP government.
He said the government would come up with a law for establishing an advertisement directorate this year.
Addressing a press conference here, Sidhu said, “Making a law, particularly its vetting, is a technical issue; so the process can take two to three months. With the coming of this law, the current annual collection of Rs 25 crore would jump to Rs 300 crore. At a modest average of Rs 250 crore annually, the state lost at least Rs 2,500 crore.”Quoting figures based on comparative data, the minister alleged, “The government had a revenue collection of Rs 25 crore from 164 towns and cities. Compared to this, Haryana collected Rs 150 crore from its 80 urban settlements alone. Also, of the total collection in Punjab, Rs 11 crore came from Mohali alone and another Rs 2.5 crore from Zirakpur.”
He said the entire amount should have gone to the Road Safety Fund, but not a penny was contributed. The figures had come up following the constitution of an SIT for an ongoing case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, he added.
Sidhu said, “The state had lost about Rs 2,000 crore in a separate case of non-payment of taxes by Fastway Transmissions. The existing laws, in both cases, were inadequately empowered for seizure or penalty. We are coming up with separate policies for cable television and advertising.”
Citing the example of “weak” advertising laws, Sidhu alleged that Green Line Advertisement, associated with a former SAD minister, made crores with conditional tendering from advertisements on bus queue shelters.
“First, the company of the friend of a minister in the last government was given a conditional tender at Rs 8.05 crore by denying entry to the rightful contender. Then, the earlier government paid the company Rs 2.12 crore as compensation,” he alleged.