Contactors openly violating advertisement Policy 2010 under patronage of JMC

[ July 04, 2017 ] RS Jamwal Jammu Municipal Corporation has not only miserably failed to keep check on unauthorized and illegal outdoor advertising infect its patronage is there despite having the power to remove or prohibit the display of any such advertising besides failed to take punitive action against the violators by imposing a fine or imprisonment. It has come to fore that right now some seventy six individuals and organizations have illegally displayed thousands of hoardings across Jammu city causing crores of rupees revenue loss to state exchequer in addition to those having prior permission. It is surprising to note that when JMC is competent how and with whose permission these hoardings displayed without their permission. JMC owes an explanation as to why it didn’t act for years against those who violated JMC framed advertisement Policy 2010 for hoardings, banners unipoles for public view under Section 118 of JMC Act, 2000, whenever any advertisement is displayed in contravention of section 116 of the JMC Act, the same is actionable as per provisions of section 119 and 384 of the JMC Act. JMC has the authority to either give direction to the owner of property to dismantle, remove, spoil, deface or screen any unauthorized and illegal advertisements of JMC itself can take similar action. But they haven’t issued any such notices to violators for years. Further persons or agencies who undertake the display of advertisement, enroll themselves as licensed or registered advertisers with the Corporation and furnish in this regard the required information, documents, surety as may be determined by the JMC Commissioner. The Jammu Municipal Corporation has invited sharp criticism for adopting discriminatory approach in Jammu, wherein a blue eyed shopkeeper has not been charged for raising hoardings, incurring losses to the tune of crores to state exchequer. In response to an RTI application filed by an RTI activist, the Public Information Officer (PIO)/ Secretary of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) revealed that no fee was collected from a noted showroom owner, who had raised hoardings at several prominent places in Jammu city last month. Only in reply to query, regarding rate per square foot for the hoardings to be raised in JMC limits, is given in which Rs. 5 is mentioned as per square feet per day for the sites with JMC, excluding sites given on contract. However as per the Act, the commercial advertisement fee on banner devices shall be only regulatory charges of RS 100 sft / day shall be applicable on banner signs. Accusing a nexus, Activist demanded enquiry into the matter and action against the responsible officials in the nexus, who selectively charged and have been incurring losses to government exchequer. Hoardings carrying pictures of political leaders continue to deface the city, with the municipal corporation having turned a blind eye to the issue. Even as JMC officials claimed to have taken strict action against the violators on several occasions, the reality on the ground is different and far from the truth. As per the bylaws, no advertisement can be exhibited or fixed over any place within the city without the written permission of the Commissioner JMC. It also states that a special area for advertisements needs to be classified. Officials claimed the JMC during a special drive had removed illegal hoardings. Interestingly, the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC), which has started a drive to remove illegal hoardings from the Jammu city, hoardings erected by politicians did not have any commercial value and so they had not removed them. “Whosoever has to erect a hoarding in the city will have to get permission from the JMC and pay the fees for a specific duration. However, these guidelines are for hoardings having commercial value,” maintains JMC. Whereas there is no such mention that political hoardings will be exempted from the purview of charging by JMC. “We are removing all illegal hoardings from the city and have given the contract to two agencies to collect the fees for commercial hoardings,” it added. He, however, refused to comment on removing the hoardings outside the residences of politicians, saying, “These hoardings do not have any commercial value.”It is unfortunate to note that Media which is considered fourth pillar of democracy and is duty bound to raise voice against wrongdoings and wrongdoers is actually violating set norms of above stated Act. Press Club Jammu using its premises and rooftops of their building for display of commercial advertisements. However when approached JMC office to know whether Press Club Jammu is having permission of JMC and whether the revenue so generated being received by JMC, it come to fore that no such permission was issued by Jammu Municipal Corporation to Press Club Jammu communicated by Secretary vide letter No. JMC/S/RTI/474 and have acknowledged that notices were issued to violators including Press Club Jammu. Infect they said that notices have been served upon all the advertisers for illegal display of commercial messages under Section 116, 119,384 and 43 J&K Municipal Corporation Act 2000. They further said that team has been constituted by Commissioner JMC headed by Joint Commissioner (A) RS Jamwal (KAS) Assistant Commissioner (R), Venakshi Koul (KAS), Chief Enforcement Officer Talat Mehmood and Enforcement Officer Kamni Kesar JMC. Fine is accordingly imposed by the competent authority (Commissioner JMC) after analyzing the offence committed by the violators. Now question arises here when such hoardings and banners are being displayed at Press Club Jammu without the permission of JMC, Is JMC in slumber that its revenue is being received by Press Club Jammu without its permission or the truth is that both are hand in gloves and utilizing revenue so generated for their personal welfare. It is indigestible to say that when JMC is ignorant of advertisements being displayed at prominent places what about low profile places in city. This seems only eyewash and lame excuses as whenever JMC take smallest of action it waste no time to ensure its wide publication in newspapers and news channels but when it fails it claims taking action against violators which is nowhere visible on ground as it always extend support to violators for distribution of profit on equal basis. Prominent among others who are illegally displaying advertisements across Jammu city having patronage of JMC are Raymond Limited, Oppo Mobile, Vivo Mobile, J&K Bank, Chandigarh University, Mastermind Classes, KC International School, SP Smart , Bansal Classes, Jetking Coaching Centre. Moreover contrary to JMC guidelines, Contractors empowered to display hoardings throughout city are violating length and breadth permissible i.e 12x12 feet and 8x12 feet where as the hoardings which are being displayed in Jammu City are beyond the prescribed size and JMC has deliberately turned blind eye to these violations probably with vested interests besides the maximum height of the advertisements shall not exceed the height of the Parapet of the bridge. Moreover the average height of the base of the hoarding should not obstruct safe movement of pedistrians or vehicles which is being done due to callousness of JMC. As per the JMC Advertising Policy, 2010, no person shall erect, exhibit, fix or retain or over any land, building, wall, hoarding, frame, post, Kiosk/bill board to be displayed on electric pole or structure or upon or in any vehicle, any advertisement or display any advertisement to public view in any manner whatsoever in any place with in jurisdiction of the Corporation without the prior written permission of the Commissioner.