Some prefer not to pay the annual advertisement fee too
The GHMC has slammed a ‘maximum penalty’ of little more than Rs. 2.3 crore on nine of the 10 agencies involved in constructing new bus shelters but not a single one has paid a penny till date. Moreover, some agencies had also stopped paying the annual advertisement fee for some time now taking cover of court cases.
Few days ago, the municipal corporation had imposed the fine on the agencies for deficiencies in maintaining the bus shelters like inadequate seating arrangements. Not only citizens but even the Mayor, Mohd. Majid Hussain, and others had complained about the bad maintenance of the bus shelters.
A total of 1,281 bus shelters were allotted to the agencies of which 389 were not taken up due to various issues like lack of space and 53 were removed for road widening or for being on metro rail corridors. The advertisement wing has found that 384 of the 840 bus shelters constructed did not have the facilities which they were supposed to provide for when they bagged the contracts for constructing them under the build, operate and transfer mode.
The agencies have been garnering huge amounts in advertisement revenue from displays on the shelters in different parts of the city yet the same interest in providing comforts to the commuter has been lacking, rues Additional Commissioner (Advertisement) Jayaraj Kennedy.
Penalties were imposed at the rate of Rs. 2,000 a day from the time the bus shelter came into being with a maximum amount of Rs. 60,000 per bus shelter. Agencies under the dock are: Uni Ads — 172 shelters, Prakash Arts Moving Media — 83, Sri Venkateswara — 54, Prakash Arts — 24, Times Innovative Media — 23, Crisis Management — 13, Mayuri Engineering — 12, G. Mastan Reddy — 2 and Neo Media — 1.
But, instead of paying any part of the penalty levied, the agencies have written denying charges while some of them have cited pending court cases, according to Mr. Kennedy.
“We are going to take legal opinion in instances where there are court cases. In others, we will do a re-survey and issue final notices,” he asserts.
One particular agency — Times Innovative Media, had even stopped making payments of the advertisement fee of up to Rs. 2 crore citing an ongoing arbitration exercise, the official reveals.