The mayor recently visited many places and found bus shelters allotted to ad agencies violating rules. The corporation on the other hand is considering terminating the BOT system.
Piling up of court cases is depriving the GHMC of revenue. Hoardings and bus shelter spaces are the main issues of contention.
Starved of funds, the corporation is toying with the idea of dispensing with the BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer) system in which the advertisement rights rest with the agency that has been allotted the space.
After his recent visit to the Tankbund, mayor Majid Hussain was appalled by the rampant flouting of norms by bus shelters. He had no idea about the extent of the problem till he saw what was happening. Even at the recently-held standing committee meeting, the mayor sought provisions of a ‘hoardings-free city’. What irked him was the loss of revenue from the lucrative business, owing to pending court cases.
Higher officials echoed the sentiment. “The bus shelters under the control of agencies are only in prime localities. But what about the places where thousands travel by buses?” wondered additional commissioner, advertisements and electrical, Jayaraj Kennedy. In the rural and semi-rural areas bus shelters are not built. Agencies are not interested in them as the advertisement will not fetch the required response.
After the ineffective experiment of BOT with agencies, the GHMC has to choose to go alone in constructing new bus shelters particularly in the areas where agencies will not find business viable.
About 76 bus shelters are expected to be constructed in the South Zone in the coming months. Tenders have already been given for 40 shelters and the remaining will be given over the next few days. Following several complaints of lack of bus-shelters, the mayor has asked officials to chalk out a strategy to make sure that these are available for Old City’s populace. “As an agency rarely ventures into the South Zone, we shall be taking up the task”, said the AC (advertisement and electrical)
Apart from this, the biggest U-turn can be seen in the construction of FOB (Foot Over Bridges). After construction of 12 FOBs in markets, the agencies are reluctant to take up new projects.
This prompted the GHMC to make all the effort in this direction. They have identified 19 places, the projects of which will be taken up the by the corporation itself.
It is believed by many observers that BOT will continue to exist and a City without hoardings is impossible. As one of the biggest sources of revenue for the GHMC is through hoardings, these structures will increase rather than decrease in number.