They are being let out to private parties for display advertisements
BHUBANESWAR: The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) may have succeeded in shrinking roadside encroachments by creating vending zones at several locations, but the zones are slowly turning out to be perfect sites for private agencies to make money with the civic body getting a little share.
Apprehensions are being raised after vendors, who have been rehabilitated in vending zones, entered into agreement with private agencies for making space available for display advertisements.
The vending zone at Sriya Square is a case in point. Fruit vendors recently entered into an agreement with a company who is part-financing the construction of their shops with iron frame. In return, the agency will be enjoying advertising rights over them for five years.
"We did not have any objection to this offer. We are happy that they helped us building strong outlet for us. It is lookout of the agency to place whatever advertisements it chooses," Panchanan, a vendor, said.
The BMC has given its no-objection certificate to the deal. When land belongs to the State Government and BMC administration worked overtime to setting up of the zone, it has come in handy for ad agencies to run their business. Sources said value of advertisement rights at such zones ran into lakhs of rupees.
It is not Sriya Square alone, but the business of advertising is slowly picking up at other places.
"When BMC has been selling advertisement rights putting up hoardings at locations, how come the civic body allowed private agencies to set up their own business in vending zones," a corporator said.
Construction of ‘permanent structure’ too goes against basic objective of creating vending zones. The BMC has been claiming that vending zones are temporary in nature and can be cleared at any point of time to facilitate future development. Contrary to this, private agencies went for five years of contract as well as vendors are busy building ‘permanent’ structures.
A senior official of the civic body said the deal was accorded ‘no objection’ certificate as the advertisement displays would make the city look better.