Two government bodies - Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) - have been at loggerheads over the display of ads at Delhi Metro for quite some time now. A few months ago, MCD started sending notices to DMRC, media owners and advertisers, labelling the ad displays at Delhi Metro illegal. It also imposed total fines of Rs 18.5 crore on the concerned parties.
In a letter to the MCD commissioner sent on March 15, E Sreedharan, managing director, DMRC, stated that the civic body's notices to DMRC's advertising contractors and their clients are tantamount to obstruction of DMRC's operation and management (O&M) activities. He also threatened to take legal action against MCD, in case the civic body continued to obstruct DMRC's activities.
While there has been no solution to the problem, and no definition of what's legal or illegal is available; media owners continue to be at the receiving end. As Delhi Metro is on an expansion spree across the Capital, DMRC continues to float tenders for the new sections.
Commenting on the kind of response the tenders would receive in this situation, Mukesh Gupta, managing director, Graphisads and general secretary, Delhi Outdoor Advertisers Association (DOAA) says, "There is ambiguity in the minds of media owners; and hesitation in quoting the right rates for tenders should not come as a surprise. Also, clients are repulsed by these controversies to such an extent that they are willing to terminate the contracts."
He questions, "If media owners get ad rights after participating in a legitimate tender bid, then why should not there be someone stepping forward to safeguard our interests?"
Another media owner feels that the concerned parties need to have a dialogue to resolve the matter. Else, the losses could run into crores.
DOAA has sent a letter to DMRC, demanding a meeting to resolve these issues.