- Ruling-Opposition parties in NMC administration attempt changes keeping rules at stake
- Company submits proposal for contract under “First Finder” to set-up advertisements on uni-poles on road dividers on 100 squares in the city.
- Negative outlook of Legal Advisor to NMC towards this proposal
Nagpur: In the year 2000, Nagpur Municipal Corporation formulated the Outdoor Advertisement Policy on the directives on Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court. This was amended in 2001. Today, after 15 year, with ulterior motives, the members of ruling party and the opposition party have connived and have proposed to make major amendments in the rules and regulations in order to help a private Advertisement Company to earn profit. According to the pre-planned move, the proposal will also get an approval of all the members. The rules and regulations can be amended only by the State Government. The NMC can make its policies only to adhere to the rules and regulations of the State Government. It would be really embarrassing for the NMC authority if anyone files Public Interest Litigation against the NMC administration if the proposal gets an approval during the General Body Meeting.
According to reliable sources, the members of ruling party and the opposition party have showed a positive attitude towards giving the contract to M/s Datatray Advertising Company based in Amravati under the “First Finder” to set-up advertisements on Uni-poles on road dividers on 100 important squares in the city.
According to the proposal, if the contract is approved, then the company has demanded to have the contract of advertising on the uni-poles for 11 years. The Uni-poles are said to be of 20 X 10 centimeters in dimension.
According to the existing policy, all the proposals which are made under the First Finder basis can be given the contract only for a period of 3 years. The policy is being amended to 11 years instead of 3 years.
The concerned department of Nagpur Municipal Corporation aims to hit many targets with one stone through the proposal of M/s Datatray Advertising Company. Under the ulterior motive, the concerned department has already made a proposal to make amendments of 16 important rules and regulations in the Outdoor Advertisement Policy 2001. The concerned department has taken an initiative to make amendments in the Policy, apart from M/s Datatray Advertising Company; many others may be financially benefitted.
The Advertisement Department of Nagpur Municipal Corporation has made a proposal to make some amendments in the existing policies.
- Change in the size or dimension of the hoardings
- Enhancing the clearance height of hoardings
- Change in the rules of distance from road
- Change in the rule specifying distance between one hoarding and the other.
- New rule of clubbing the hoardings
- Change in Clause-20 of the existing Policy.
- Abolishing the rule of limiting 3 year period for “First Finder Policy”.
- Major change in the Uni-pole policies
- Change in the size of advertisement on walls.
- Change in the advertisement rules of Road-shows.
- Change in the period of innovative media
- Change in the Tax policies of advertisement on vehicles
- Change in the period of Sponsored advertisement.
The proposal was allegedly made by the NMC’s Estate Department on October 2, 2016 and sent to the Finance Department. The Finance Department in-turn had sent the proposal on October 26, 2016 to the Legal Advisor to get legal advice on the matter. However, contrary to the expectation of the NMC authorities, the Legal Advisor had submitted a negative report on November 9, 2016. Ignoring the legal advice of the Legal Advisor, the NMC Administration got the approval of the Standing Committee. The NMC Administration then forwarded the issue to get approval in the General Body Meeting. In all probability, the issue will be raised in the General Body meeting slated to be held on December 1, 2016 and may get approval too based on the pre-planned move of the members of the ruling and opposition party.
It could be mentioned here that only the State Government has rights to bring about change in the policies. However, with the connivance of the NMC Administration and the members of ruling and opposition party, an attempt is being made to bring about a change in the policies illegally.
Sources claimed that the advertisements on Uni-Pole could be hazardous to the road users. According to the Advertisement Policy, the Advertisement Hoardings should be at a distance of 25 meters from the Main road. A Public Interest Litigation has already been filed in a similar matter.
The company has proposed to fix CCTVs on the Unipoles in important squares, while the contract of fixing CCTVs at important squares has already been given to L&T Company under the Smart City Project.
M/s Datatray Advertising Company has proposed an estimate of Rs 2.5 crores to Rs 3 crores. There are provisions to satisfy all those who support the move. Sources claimed that preparations are afoot to file Public Interest Litigation in the High Court if the proposal gets approved.
According to the rules laid down existing advertisement policy, based on the first finder method, all contracts shall be given only for a period of three years, after which all the goods properties used in the advertisement shall belong to Nagpur Municipal Corporation. The said Advertisement agency had pressurized the NMC authorities to enhance the period to 11 years, however, the authorities of NMC have made-up their mind to enhance the period from 3 years to 6 years.
The rules laid down existing advertisement policy also demands that a tender notice has to be floated before assigning the contract to any advertisement agency to use government land/property. During his tenure, former Commissioner of Nagpur Municipal Corporation Sanjeev Jaiswal had followed the principle of floating tenders before approving any proposals proposed under the first finder method. The change in advertisement policy will be a big challenge to the present Commissioner of Nagpur Municipal Corporation and Mayor who prefer to have a clean image. This will be the last General Body Meeting for both the officials. It will all get clear if the proposal does get approved. The members of the Standing Committee have shown special interest in getting the proposal approved. If the proposal does get approved, the Opposition Party will get one more issue of the irregularities and illegalities of the Ruling Party to harp on. It remains to be seen what stand does the opposition, take in the ruling party getting this proposal approved.
– RAJEEV RANJAN KUSHWAHA