With the Lok Sabha elections drawing close, political parties and candidates have started will be spending crores on advertising, but Delhi’s civic bodies are unlikely to capitalise on the lucrative prospects.

The three Municipal Corporation are in fact losing crores in revenue because political parties are preferring illegal hoardings to advertising on regular commercial sites.

“Illegal hoardings and banners across the Capital are costing the civic body lakhs of rupees in revenue,” said Virender Kasana, a Congress councillor in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).

The SDMC said recently that it would prepare a list of illegal hoardings within 15 days and then take action based on that.

According to Mr. Kasana, if the corporation was to provide more legal advertising space, the illegal spaces would lose their appeal. “The more sites we have, the more revenue we will earn.”

However, the Leader of the House in the SDMC, Subhash Arya, said more than the revenue, he was concerned about the “mess” created by illegal hoardings and banners in Delhi recently.

“The advertising sites are auctioned, so all hoardings and banners you see elsewhere are illegal. We are removing them and taking action against those involved,” added Mr. Arya.

The municipal corporations of Delhi allow three kinds of advertising – self signage, wall/building wraps and unipoles. The information boards outside shops and restaurants come under self signage.

“Boards of up to 27 square feet can be put up outside shops or other places free of cost and without permission. More than that, permission is needed,” an East Delhi Municipal Corporation Advertisement Department official said.

On streets where commercial activity takes place, the corporations allow wall or building wraps. “These can be put up after our inspector goes to the site and a monthly license fee is paid,” explained the official. The EDMC has currently licensed 32 such wraps.

“The unipoles have advertisements of 20x10 feet. Inspectors first survey the sites to see if they are feasible. Then we have a tendering process, for which only registered advertisers can apply. We have 222 unipole sites right now,” added the official.

Earnings from these three media account for Rs. 9 crore in the EDMC’s revenue, he said. Referring to the many banners on street lights, as well as hoardings on East Delhi’s roads, the official said: “These are totally illegal. All cloth banners and hoardings are illegal. We are carrying out continuous raids against these”.

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