|Early Times Report|
SRINAGAR, Jan 4: Installation of hoardings illegally are rampant across Kashmir with authorities acting as mute spectators. For installation of any hoarding, the government has to be paid as per the rules. The government has also outsourced it at several places.
However, the rules, according to sources, are rarely followed causing a loss of crores to the state exchequer.
The coaching centers, sources said are busy promoting their institutions through posters , lampposts, and bridges, giving them a shabby look.
Besides, hoardings are erected on electricity poles and promotions painted on roadside walls, questioning the role of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in keeping the city clean. "It could be a big scam where some officials might be taking money from the owners and allow them to install any hoarding illegally," a source said. Most of the roads and traffic signboards around the Jawahar Nagar area, a hub of tuition centers, are covered with posters. Similarly, the Lal Mandi footbridge is dotted with advertisements, and banners. The fence of the children's park and valley's lone maternity Lal Ded hospital in the same vicinity is no exception. The situation in areas including Bar Bar Shah and Karan Nagar in the old city to uptown areas of Baghat, Barzulla, Parraypora, and Natipora, is almost similar. What comes as a shock is that some people have not even spared pillars of under construction Rambagh to Jehangir Chowk flyover. Showkat Ahmad, a pedestrian on the Lal Mandi footbridge said, "It is not that officials concerned are not aware of this practice as they also travel on same roads, walls around which are surrounded by infinite odd posters, but they prefer to turn a blind eye." A shopkeeper at Harisingh High Streer along the Jhelum said, "I feel the owners of these so called private institutions are hand in glove with the officers. And, if the authorities seriously want to stop this malpractice, they need to take serious action against the violators."
Anti-defacement law literally known as The Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of defacement of Property Act, 1985 calls for strict punishment against the person found defacing the government property. As per this law, whosoever defaces any property in public view by writing or marking with ink, chalk, paint or any other material shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both.
An official of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) said anybody caught defacing the government property will be dealt strictly by the corporation. "The act is always there. Nowadays we see many notifications, writings on the government property which is completely in violation to the rule. Without permission, if anybody is found indulging in such activities will be booked under law," he said. The law defines the defacement as impairing or interfering with the appearance or beauty, damaging, disfiguring, spoiling or injuring in any other way or whatsoever.