Corporation’s bus shelter project kicks up a controversy


Opposition councillors say it could lead to huge financial loss

The Kochi Corporation’s recent decision to permit a private agency to put up 12 bus shelters along Sahodaran Ayyappan Road has kicked up a storm with the Opposition resolving to oppose it.

The proposal, which was listed as the last item in the supplementary agenda, was passed at the meeting held on Monday, without anyone opposing it. However, later, the Opposition councillors felt that if implemented, it could lead to huge financial loss to the civic body, and hence the decision had to be challenged.

Armed with a court order, the private agency, which had entered into an agreement with the civic body for setting up 40 bus shelters in 2011, approached the civic authorities seeking permission for setting up 12 such facilities on Sahodaran Ayyappan Road, which is owned by the Kochi Corporation.

The agency contended that it should be allowed to set up the shelters on Sahodaran Ayyappan Road as it could not set up the 40 shelters earlier due to a dispute between the Corporation and the Public Works Department (PWD). The PWD had then objected to the decision of the civic body to permit the shelters there.

The private agency had also suggested that it should be allowed to run the shelters for seven years.

It had proposed that the civic body would be held responsible for any loss that it might suffer due to delay on the part of the Corporation to take the decision.

V.P. Chandran, the LDF leader in the council, said its representatives in the finance committee would object the proposal when it came up for consideration.

‘Source of revenue’

Setting up modern bus shelters could be one way of generating revenue for the civic body. Sadly, the civic authorities seemed to be not keen on tapping the resources.

As the original decision to allot the bus shelters was taken some seven years ago, the civic body should re-tender the proposal rather than permitting the same agency to set up the facility, he said.

Mr. Chandran said the suggestion for allowing the agency to run the facility for seven years was against the interests of the civic body.

The city needed modern bus shelters with WiFi and other facilities and proper lighting. The shelter units should be ideal locations for displaying advertisement, which would earn significant revenue for the civic body, he added.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 5:13:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/corporations-bus-shelter-project-kicks-up-a-controversy/article24248742.ece

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