BBMP in a battle of legal wits against illegal advertisers
- The BBMP wants more revenue and is cracking down on illegal hoardings.
- Advertisement companies simply avoid the BBMP notices.
- Now the BBMP has resorted to a 'plan b' of sorts to overcome such evasions.
For some time now, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has undertaken a systematic crackdown on illegal hoardings and billboards within the BBMP limits under the leadership of Special Commissioner V Rashmi. The results have been mixed.
As it turned out, many erring companies, who do not report their hoardings to avoid the BBMP's taxes, have been a step ahead of the authorities, usually by the simple method of tactfully avoiding the BBMP's notices.
BBMP officials recently reportedly identified as many as 10,172 unofficial hoardings and officials have filed a caveat in the courts in connection with 5,450 hoardings of the whole identified lot.
But many companies have evaded the notices through various, seemingly simple, ideas. For example, some claim they have never received the notices, while others send the notice citing a range of technical issues. Still others do not have offices in the addresses listed with the BBMP.
For whatever reason, a large number of the notices are routinely sent back to the BBMP. Authorities now are contemplating stern action against such companies and their tactful ways.
Currently, the BBMP has initiated the process of sending notices to more than 2000 companies which have resorted to evasive tactics earlier.
And, in a bid to avoid the same result as last time, BBMP officials have been conducting physical verification of the precincts of such companies. And to further ensure success, the BBMP has taken to pasting the notices on the walls of the company and filming the pasting to use as evidence in legal proceedings, confirming that the notices were delivered to the companies.
BBMP’s Commissioner, Manjunatha Prasad, has instructed the officers to register a criminal complaint against those companies who fail to 'receive' such notices and evade paying their dues to the BBMP.
The authorities are hopeful of netting a tax revenue to the tune of ₹600 crore, along with some penalties, through their efforts.