The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Western Railway (WR) are on a collision course over advertisement hoardings after a senior BMC official on Saturday pulled down three hoardings from railway land near Malad station. The reason given by the BMC officials was that the hoardings were "distracting" motorists using the road along the western side of Malad station.
However, for the WR the hoardings that the BMC removed are part of a Rs2.09 crore contract given to a private advertiser for putting up hoardings between Dadar and Kandivli stations, which could end up in legal complications if the BMC threatens more such action, said an official.
The immediate loss calculated by the WR due to removal of hoardings is Rs5.99 lakh and WR officials say that if the hoardings are not put back in place quickly, the advertising firm that has got the contract can demand a refund.
The matter has reached the highest levels of both agencies with sources telling dna that the WR divisional railway manager Shailendra Kumar had a talk with BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte over the BMC action. "The hoardings are on railway land and allowing the BMC to come in and take action would set a bad precedent. It could lead to revenue loss for the railways and secondly can also see our advertising contractors dragging the railways to court over contractual obligations," said a senior railway official.
For WR's Mumbai division, the BMC action comes at a time when it has just about managed to achieve the advertisement revenue target set for them by the railway board. In fact, almost all other divisions on the railways have failed to achieve their targets, according to railway officials.
The Rs45.09 crore WR's Mumbai division made was a 59 per cent jump from last year when it made around Rs30 crore.
The other reason is that for WR's Mumbai division, advertisement revenue is a sizeable chunk of the money that flows into its coffers. Advertisement revenue of Rs45 crore is higher than what it earned from freight, which stood at Rs29 crore, and ticketless travel, which stood at Rs36 crore.