B S Yediyurappa’s ad policy not Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s cup of tea


Citizens relieved by Karnataka government’s stance against hoarding installations in Bengaluru

The state government’s order to withdraw the recently-notified Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Advertisement Rules, 2021 has received applause from citizens. Despite strong opposition, the B S Yediyurappa-led government approved the installation of hoardings in the City, nearly three years after they were banned. What’s more notable is the decision of new CM Basavaraj Bommai to overturn the previous order that was passed by the same BJP-led government.

The order, issued by the Urban Development Department (UDD) states that the BBMP Advertisement Rules, 2021 – which was notified on July 26 this year — is withdrawn with immediate effect.

It may be recalled that the outdoor advertising industry had lobbied hard to get the new rules passed with BS Yediyurappa approving the proposal in his last state cabinet meeting before he resigned as the chief minister of Karnataka. The approval received widespread opposition as the subject pertaining to advertisement hoarding was also being heard at the High Court.

Activist Sai Dutta applauded CM Bommai for withdrawing the policy. “The CM’s office should first suspend the officers who wrongly advised the former chief minister into approving the advertising policy. The officers have embarrassed the government,” he said. The matter, he added, is still in the court and any decision would amount to contempt of court.

Tara Krishnaswamy, co-founder of Citizens for Benglauru said the state government had erred in approving the new policy for Bengaluru. “Any policy pertaining to the City must be passed by the BBMP council first. State government cannot interfere in city governance,” she said.

She urged the state government to set right fiscal decentralisation. “Funds are not properly devolved to the corporations. While Bengaluru is a high revenue generating city that subsidises the entire state, we are not getting adequate funds. That’s the most ridiculous way of managing finance,” Krishnaswamy, who works for an IT firm, said.

Srinivas Alavilli, head of civic participation at Janaagraha, said the City definitely needs an advertising policy but it should be more rational. “One cannot allow hoardings right in the middle of pedestrian pathways, traffic islands or by cutting trees. Another problem with the hoarding was that the BBMP was not getting enough returns in the form of rent from advertisers,” he said.

He suggested allowing only a few hoardings on a rental basis by consulting the ward committees. “A portion of the revenue should be allocated to the ward committees for undertaking works in their wards. The ownership of hoardings should be dynamic in nature with advertisers taking the space for rent on hourly basis,” he said.

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