As the state-of-the-art street-furniture project is getting delayed, the municipal corporation (MC) has been facing financial losses in crores for the past two years. This project was aimed at beautifying the city by installing street furniture, which is also used for displaying advertisements.
According to the claims of a BJP councillor, the MC has faced losses worth `40-50 crore as the project has not been implemented. However, the tenders were floated last year, tendering process was cancelled after a controversy as only one private firm had shown interest.
Earlier, this year BJP councillors had raised an objection after a firm placed a bid of `2.55 crore for displaying advertisements at1,146 points for seven years, in December 2014. They had claimed that the bid was too low and the MC could earn more than this.
They had also alleged that some MC officials had kept such tough conditions for the tender, so that no other firm could fulfill it. Following this, an advertisement committee was formed and they recommended for retendering in April this year.
Under the street-furniture project, the selected firm was supposed to install street furniture including public utilities, vending kiosks, bus queue shelters, garbage stations, police booths, benches, dustbins and unipoles in all four zones of the MC. The firm can display advertisements on this street furniture, and it will have to pay the bid amount and advertisement tax to the MC.
Inder Agarwal, BJP councillor from ward 18, said, "The process of retendering is still getting delayed. MC is facing loss worth `40-50 crore in a year as the project is being delayed for past two years."
He said, "Five lakh square feet space is available for advertisements in city as per master plan. MC can generate at least `24 crore from advertisement tax, but the officials are delaying this project despite knowing that it will improve its financial condition."
He alleged that some officials are trying to favour a special lobby. Sources also claimed that there are two groups, which are making every possible effort to get this project.
MC superintendent Harvinder Singh said, "The tenders will be floated again as the process to prepare draft for it is underway."