Delaying tactics to benefit illegal hoarding mafia
JAMMU, Apr 10: Continuing with its delaying tactics in allotment of sole advertizing rights, Jammu Municipal Corporation is incurring revenue loss of more than Rs 1.25 lakh per day for allegedly benefitting the mafia involved in installing illegal hoardings in Jammu city.
While the concerned authorities are taking excuse of a pending litigation in delaying allotment of advertising rights to the highest bidder, some vested interests in JMC, in connivance with a few private parties are exploiting the situation for wrongful gain through allowing illegal hoardings within the Municipal limits.
Notwithstanding the submission of a formal clarification by its Law Officer over the pending litigation and purportedly giving a no objection opinion in allotment of advertisement rights to the highest bidder, the JMC has now constituted a committee to recommend next course of action and thus further delayed the matter for indefinite period to allegedly benefit the nexus involved in installing illegal hoardings.
As already reported by the Excelsior, the earlier contract for advertising rights through hoardings and pole kiosks within the Municipal limits had expired in June last year and fresh tenders for the same were invited in December last with January 19,2021 as the last date. Rs 4 crores per year was the base price of bidding with contract period for five years from the date of signing of the agreement.
January 22, 2021 was the date of opening technical bid after which financial bids were also submitted by the participating firms. However, JMC took around two months in opening the financial bids only after Excelsior carried an exclusive story informing how the Municipal Corporation was losing lakhs of rupees as revenue while on the other hand, some private players in connivance with corrupt JMC officials were illegally putting up advertisement hoardings on public places.
However, the story did not end here as even after the financial bids were opened on March 19, the sole advertisement rights were not allotted till date to the highest bidder M/s Bright Neon Signs Pvt Ltd, which has quoted the rate of Rs 4.60 crores for the first year and 10 percent increase every year i.e. JMC will get a revenue of Rs 28.08 crores in five years.
Taking excuse of a pending litigation with M/s Neon Signs Pvt Ltd, which had sole advertising rights of JMC last year also, the Municipal authorities did not allot it the fresh rights and forwarded the matter to its Law Officer for the legal opinion.
Since M/s Bright Neon Signs Pvt Ltd was allowed for participation in the bidding process on permission of the arbitration court, sources said that the Law Officer, in his report submitted to the Municipal Corporation more than a week ago, found nothing objectionable in allotment of sole advertisement rights to the said firm.
However, for allegedly further delaying the matter notwithstanding the Law Officer’s clarifications, the JMC authorities on last Thursday constituted a committee of officers to recommend further action regarding allotment of advertisement rights to the firm.
As per the order, the committee, comprising Assistant Commissioner (Rev), JMC, Chief Accounts Officer, JMC and Sr Law Officer, JMC shall recommend further course of action regarding allotment of sole advertisement rights through hoarding and pole kiosks in Ward number 1 to 75 within Jammu Municipal Corporation with regard to pending litigation with M/s Bright Neon Signs Pvt Ltd.
Sources alleged that formation of the committee is another move to further holdup legal allotment of advertisement rights and thus giving more time to those exploiting the situation for wrongful gains by illegally putting up hoardings in Jammu city while on the other hand, JMC is incurring revenue loss of more than Rs 1.25 lakh per day because of the deliberate delay.