Political posters have a way of finding their way into every nook and corner of the city, even the prestigious monorail project. Tired of seeing the piers being used as a publicity board by political parties, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has invited separate proposals from agencies for securing, maintaining and leasing of bulk commercial advertisement rights to display advertisements on monorail piers.
This means that the piers will now have a proper record of all the advertisements being displayed on them, and will also rake in additional revenue, as opposed to the free publicity it provides to political parties when they put up posters. The agency that bags the proposal will be responsible for securing advertisements at all seven stations on the 8.8-km long Chembur-Wadala monorail corridor.
Ashwini Bhide, additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA said, “Yes, we will be inviting proposals for agencies to make the piers official advertising spaces. Besides the piers, the platforms, the concourse area, railings, staircases and other exterior surfaces of stations will also be made available for advertisements by way of digital displays, glow-signs, vinyl wrapping etc.”
However, officials within MMRDA themselves are not too sure whether it will stop the ugly posters. Speaking to MiD DAY on the condition of anonymity, an official said, “For the last two years, we have been observing that during the festive season, political parties use the space on the monorail piers to put up vinyl and paper stickers and posters. The private security guards of the contractor present at the site even tried to stop them, but these people just don’t listen. I really don’t know whether this plan will be successful as we don’t know how to stop the local Ganpati mandals and political parties from putting up stickers.”
Last year, MiD DAY had reported that Ganpati mandals had found newer places pillars of the Metro and Monorail projects. During the Ganpati festival, monorail pillars in Lalbaug-Parel area are full of these posters. Not only are they ugly, they are also hard to remove.
“The posters on the piers usually don’t come off easily, and at some places, new posters have been put up over the old ones. Removing these multiple layers is a daunting task,” added the official. The appointed agency is expected to fix, maintain and secure advertisements for the station areas, and maintain the monorail piers by removing all unwanted posters, stickers, drawings, graffiti etc and also lease advertisement rights of these piers for commercial advertisements.
However, politicians are not too happy with the decision. Pandurang Sakpal, vibhag pramukh, Shiv Sena for the South Mumbai region, said, “Political parties don’t puts up posters for commercial gains. We put them up only during festivals to greet people. Therefore, it’s not right for MMRDA to make it a commercial advertising space.”