Hoardings tracker system gathers dust

Setback for efforts to track advertisement tax defaulters

KOCHI: The City Corporation’s ambitious scheme to install Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system for tracking flex boards and hoardings in the city is yet to be implemented. The civic body has already purchased RFID chips worth Rs. 35 lakhs from KELTRON. The equipments however remain unattended and gathering dust in corporation office.
The RFID system consisting of a reader and an electronic tag attached to the hoarding helps to electronically tag each display board. The system, once implemented would have helped the civic body to identify hoardings, its size, location and thereby helping it to track those evading or defaulting advertisement tax.
According to A.R. Padmadas, a councilor of Chalikkavattom division the unholy nexus between the advertisers and corporation officials has been stalling the proposal. The issue was raised in a recent meeting of the corporation council, he said.
Town Planning Committee chairman K.J Sohan told DC that the proposal has been put on backburner by the civic officials. “During an audit enquiry, objection was raised against purchase of the system from KELTRON without inviting tenders. Hence, the equipments have been dumped at the corporation office,” he said.
According to Sohan, the new system once installed would help the civic body to plug revenue loss caused by illegal display boards in the city. “As all publicity materials within the city, irrespective of their size and location, will be brought under the tax bracket, the new system will boost the weak corporation exchequer,” he observed.
But, he refuted allegations of wasting money for the system. “Since, the cost for installing RFID will be collected from the advertisers the civic body will not incur any expense,” he added.
The decision to install RFID system was taken in March 2012 as part of change in the advertisement bylaw in tune with the guidelines issued by the Indian Road Congress.

( Source : dc )
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