Haryana's No-Ad-On-Metro-Pillars Policy To Hit DRMC, Rapid Metro
Rapid-transit networks might be changing the face of India, but that is being done at a heavy cost. Even the most successful networks — the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) included — are incurring losses and they are far from being financially viable. Despite a constant increase in the ridership numbers, the DMRC is far from reaching a break-even point, data show. While revealing that the government is giving the final touches to a new Metro policy that would focus on making mass transport networks self-reliant, Urban Affairs Secretary DS Mishra recently said that they should look into innovative ways to generate more revenues.
Some of them have actually been doing that.
Hard pressed to become financially stable, the DMRC has been using advertising as a medium to increase their revenues. However, a law recently formulated by the Haryana government’s Urban Local Bodies Department might derail its plans of doing so. The DMRC runs five stations in Gurgaon on its Yellow Line — Guru Dronacharya, Sikandarpur, MG Road, IFFCO Chowk and HUDA City Centre.
More significantly hit by the provision of the law, however, is Gurgaon’s Rapid Metro that runs services between Sikandarpur and Sector 55-56, a total of 11 stations. The Rapid Metro, which is quite far from receiving the expected footfall so far, more from advertisements than from its ticket sales.
Under the draft Haryana Municipal Corporation Advertisement Bye-Laws, 2018, advertisement of Metro pillars and medians is prohibited. Advertising is also banned on stations, foot-over-bridges and other properties that face the direction of traffic on roads.
According to media reports, the Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon Ltd (RMRL) has termed the bye-laws as a “death knell” for the network. Upcoming projects in the state, said the body, would also be drastically impacted by these provisions.
According to a report in The Times of India, RMRL Director Rajiv Banga has virulently criticised the move in a strong-worded letter to the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon.
“All local bodies are promoting metro services all over the country, but for reasons best known to the Haryana ULB department, it has formulated advertising bylaws in a way so as to sound the death knell of metro services in the state," a report quoted Banga as saying, citing the contents of the letter.
"This will also affect upcoming MRTS (mass-rapid transit system) and Metro networks planned by the HSIIDC/MCG. Nowhere in India, barring Haryana, is there a prohibition on advertisements on Metro pillars/median. World over, Metro services compensate low fares by generating non-fare revenue,” Banga said in his letter. The DMRC has also expressed similar views on the proposed law.