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`Free' advertisements on bus shelters

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UNCHECKED PRACTICE: An illegal advertisement that has come up on a bus shelter on Wallajah Road. Photo: S.S. Kumar
UNCHECKED PRACTICE: An illegal advertisement that has come up on a bus shelter on Wallajah Road. Photo: S.S. Kumar

P. Oppili

CHENNAI: The sudden appearance of unauthorised advertisements on bus shelters in various parts of the city in the last couple of months has surprised officials.

More than 500 bus shelters in the city and its suburbs have been used by a group to put up advertisements without legal sanction. The shelters were built using funds from Corporation Councillors under the ward development programme.

When contacted, MTC officials said they had received similar complaints. However, as the shelters were not constructed or maintained by them, the authorities brought the violation to the notice of the civic authorities.

A senior MTC officer said a group of advertisers, under the pretext of maintaining the shelters, put up the advertisements without obtaining permission from the Corporation or the MTC. Nor did they pay a royalty to government agencies.

Officials say a few advertisers requested the Corporation to allow them to maintain the bus shelters and use the space for putting up billboards. When they did not get any response, they quietly put up advertisement boards.

An MTC officer said the rent for the advertisements space varied. For example, the monthly rent was Rs.70,000 in T.Nagar or Anna Salai.

An official notes that while the billboards look bright, the shelters remain uncared for or ill maintained.

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