Monday, August 16, 2010

BBMP may hand over road maintenance to ad agencies

BBMP may hand over road maintenance to ad agencies
Sandeep Moudgal, Bangalore, August 15, DH News Service:

As the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) grapples with financial losses due to the alleged advertising agencies’ ‘mafia’, the Palike top brass is considering handing over certain major roads in the City to the advertising agencies for maintenance.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, BBMP Mayor S K Nataraj said that the Palike is contemplating on the proposal with advertising agencies as part of a revenue sharing model. “We are thinking of handing over certain roads to these advertising agencies for maintenance in exchange for free hoardings in the City for display of advertisements,” said Nataraj.

As per the preliminary discussions, the advertising agencies will clean the roads, free the footpath of encroachments and maintain cleanliness. “They will be asked to employ their own personnel to ensure parking facilities are maintained in order,” he said.

The discussions which have been going on over the past month seems to have accrued a lot of interest among the advertising agencies. “For now we are looking at initiating a pilot project in certain locations of Bangalore for a feasibility study. Later, if it succeeds we will take it to the entire city,” said Nataraj.

However, sceptics in the BBMP are caught in a fix over the proposition. “If this is carried out, then the advertising mafia will gain control of the BBMP functioning over advertisement regulations,” informed a BBMP official.

It is believed that with the ugly head of the ‘mafia’ dangling a sword over the revenue inflow of the BBMP, the maintenance of roads will give the advertising agencies more bargaining power.

Opposition leaders in the BBMP Council have already criticised the Palike for loss of revenue caused by ‘illegal’ hoardings. With the current proposal likely to allow the advertisers display hoardings free of cost, there is a good chance of it snowballing into a political controversy.


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