Revenue loss on outdoor ads, firm loses contract

Chandigarh, June 13: Citing irregularities and loss of revenue, Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday ordered the cancellation of contract for outdoor advertisements in Ludhiana. Ad firm Greenline has the contract since 2009.

Indicating the involvement of senior officers in the scam that has caused loss worth several crores of rupees to the state exchequer, Sidhu, while addressing a press conference, said: “Those involved in the scam will not be spared. Ludhiana could only generate Rs 1.88 crore from outdoor advertisements in 2017-18. In contrast, Jaipur, a much smaller city, generated Rs 80 crore in the same period. The highest amount in the state was collected by Mohali, Rs 9.8 crore.”

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Without revealing the names behind the controversial company, the minister alleged: “Everybody knows that the company was supported by former Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal.”

Besides failing to meet the condition of allotment of contract through tenders, Greenline also faces the charge of not paying any advertisement tax after managing a controversial insertion in the contract. The company has also allegedly benefited with a contract in 2013 to continue its work. Except for a formality on papers, there was no real competition.

No change in the rates for allotting tenders for bus queue shelters to Greenline was made in 2015. The company did not maintain a log book for expenses, daily or yearly, said Karnesh Sharma, Director, Local Government.

Sidhu said: “We are hiring one company for all eight tenders this time. The tenders will be floated soon. We have already got response from leading advertisers at the national level.”

CVO Sudeep Singh Malik said: “We have definite reports on the involvement of officers in the matter. There has been no audit of collections from advertisements and expenditure for the past 15 years.”

Source Tribune India