The city’s first Metro corridor is close to completion, but the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the Reliance Infrastructure-led consortium constructing the Metro are caught in a tussle over who gets to exploit the advertising rights on the pillars of elevated corridor.
While MMRDA has gone ahead and invited proposals from parties interested in buying advertising rights on the pillars at a one-time premium, a source said the consortium has taken serious objection to it. Officials from Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd, the special purpose vehicle constructing the 11.4-km corridor on a public private partnership basis, have raised the issue with senior MMRDA officials.
UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner at MMRDA, said, “Whatever advertising rights have been given to the concessionaire are clearly mentioned in the concession agreement, and pillars are not part of it. It is clearly mentioned that advertising rights on stations, inside rakes and so on will lie with the MMOPL. We will sort out the issue amicably.”
Reliance Infrastructure and Veolia Transport hold 69 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively, in the consortium, while the remaining stake is with the MMRDA.
According to MMOPL, it is the owner of all assets of the Metro corridor, including the pillars as per the contract.
A source said as per Clause C of the concession agreement, the project is being implemented on a ‘build, own, operate and transfer basis’ as against a ‘build, operate and transfer model,’ which gives MMOPL the ownership of the entire construction. “The rights to advertise on the pillars may not be with MMOPL as per the agreement, but that does not mean MMRDA can use the space for advertising either,” the source said.
An MMOPL spokesperson said, “As a concessionaire, we are responsible for the maintenance of pillars. We are in discussion with MMRDA as to how two agencies can get involved in the advertisement activities.”
Last Tuesday, MMRDA had published a notice for the appointment of an agency for securing, maintaining and leasing of rights to display advertisement on the Metro pillars of the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor for three years. It will pick the bidder quoting the highest premium, which will be payable over three annual instalments for access to an approximate area of 16,592 sq m. The minimum upfront payment will be Rs 15 crore.
Madan said if the MMRDA gets a healthy response, it will similarly tap the monorail corridor for advertising revenue.
“The pillars are anyway