The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) itself may soon manage all hoarding spaces without contracting them to agencies and touts to plug revenue leakage.
This significant move was discussed at the monthly council meeting here on Tuesday after Opposition leader M. Nagaraj raised the issue of illegal hoardings and revenue loss to the civic authority.
Alleging there were around 5,000 illegal hoardings across the city, he said BBMP officials had turned a blind eye towards them. “Agencies who rent the hoardings, obtain a stay on a particular hoarding and misuse the same order for multiple hoardings. Despite the stay order, the agencies keep on changing the ads without maintaining status quo. The BBMP is losing crores due to this,” he said.
Mayor S.K. Nataraj told presspersons later that a policy decision would be taken on this after consulting the Commissioner, Deputy Mayor and party leaders. “During 2009-10, the BBMP collected Rs. 18.24 crore as revenue by renting out the hoardings across the city. [If we take over] the spaces ourselves, we will be able to generate revenue of Rs. 200 crore.”
In addition to the civic authority's advertisement bye-laws, guidelines and rules were being framed, he said.
Responding to Mr. Nagaraj's allegations, Commissioner Bharatlal Meena said the BBMP was mapping the hoardings — both authorised and unauthorised — across the city through the Geographical Information System (GIS). The data is being digitised and will soon be available online. The High Court will settle the matter of disputed hoardings.
Those red markings
Councillors, who said that the BBMP's red markings on properties — specifying the area to be acquired for road widening — were giving citizens sleepless nights, demanded a special session to discuss Transfer of Development Rights and acquisition issues. Mr. Meena said that he had already written to the zonal heads to take up road widening as per the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP).
In a debate that followed on Akrama-Sakrama, Mr. Meena said the it had already been introduced in the Assembly and was in the discussion stage. A Cabinet Sub-Committee had made the necessary suggestions, he said, and claimed the BBMP had no powers at this stage to make any changes.
Councillors Raju, Keshavamurthy, Thimmananjaiah and Shankar pointed out to the rise in the number of dengue and chikungunya cases saying the worst hit were those from the economically backward sections.
The Mayor suggested that the three medical practitioners elected to the council should form a committee, study the situation and submit a report. He stressed on the need to create awareness about the spread of vector-borne diseases and directed the health officials to initiate action in this regard.
Irked by the absence of officials from the Legal Cell, Mayor said that they could quit if they were not interested in doing their job.