THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The city corporation has set a record of sorts by garnering the highest revenue in terms of advertisement licence fee. A 41.2 per cent increase has been registered this year with a collection of Rs 2.12 crore in the 2018-19 financial year against Rs 1.25 crore cashed in the previous year. There has been an 18 per cent spike in the tax collection in the 2018-2019 financial year with a total revenue of Rs125.04 crore. With the spike in the revenue garnered through advertisements being unparalleled when compared to other districts, the corporation officials are on cloud nine.
“The government did away with the advertisement tax when the GST was implemented. But we weren't affected as we had the advertisement licence fee implemented which could get the tax via various components such as the licence fee, erection charge, rent and such. It didn't come under the purview of tax. We had imposed that earlier itself,” says LS Deepa, secretary, corporation. The city corporation has even got a bye-law prepared for advertisements. "The bye-law had adequate provisions and we were not affected by the implementation of the rule," she added.
The corporation is now coming up with a new bye-law to control, regulate and manage the advertisement boards. "The thrust is on avoiding littering of the city with such advertisements and preventing its dominance. Since we have received legal backing we have been able to rid the city of all illegal advertisement boards," says Deepa.
Despite the area between Kowdiar and East Fort being an advertisement-free area, advertisements continue to pop up at regular intervals. As of March 23, a total amount of Rs 8.15 lakhs was levied as fine from proprietors for erecting illegal advertisement boards. As many as 33,710 unauthorised advertisement boards were confiscated by the corporation in the last financial year. "The judgement was a milestone and helped us significantly as we were very empowered and could levy penalty on the violators," she says.
Meanwhile, the city corporation has intensified its drive against advertisements on medians. With this, year-old advertisements on the barricades erected on the medians are getting a splash of black paint, with them being wiped off on a war footing. The stretch between Plamood and Kesavadasapuram which was dotted with barricades bearing advertisements are being wiped off following a drive by the city corporation on Tuesday.
Close to 400 barricades are being wiped clean of the advertisements at the Plamood-Kesavadasapuram stretch while the same drive was carried out at the Thycaud junction also. The drive was carried out in a bid to rid the city of illegal advertisements.
Earlier, the State Human Rights Commission had sought an explanation from the city police and corporation on the setting up of barricades on medians based on a complaint filed by a rights activist.
The barricades were erected by the City Traffic Police at major stretches in the city without getting the necessary permission from the designated authorities.