Continuing his campaign to expose the previous Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP rule in the state, Punjab Local Bodies and Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu alleged on Saturday that Punjab suffered a loss of Rs 2,500 crore in advertising revenue during the 10-year Akali Dal rule. Comparing the advertising revenue of Punjab with neighbouring Haryana, Sidhu pointed out that while Haryana, which had only 80 towns and cities, earned an annual revenue of Rs 150 crore, while Punjab, with 164 towns and cities, generated a total revenue of a mere Rs 25 crore. He said that of this Rs 25 crore, Mohali and Zirakpur towns, adjoining Chandigarh, generated advertising revenue of Rs 11 and Rs 2.5 crore respectively. “We are bringing a new law. It will take 2-3 months (to make). The revenue from advertising will jump from Rs 25 crore to Rs 300 crore annually,” Sidhu claimed. He said that if the loss of the previous 10 years of Akali Dal-BJP rule (2007-2017) was calculated at Rs 250 crore annually, the loss suffered by Punjab comes to Rs 2,500 crore.
He said that the Punjab government will soon come with a law to establish an advertisement directorate this year. Sidhu said that the entire amount should have gone to the Road Safety Fund, but not a single penny was contributed. He gave instances of some advertising companies, having links to ministers in the Akali government, cornering lucrative contracts at the cost of the state exchequer. The minister had earlier alleged that a cable TV company Fastway, had evaded taxes of over Rs 2,000 crore during the Akali Dal-BJP rule.