|After almost a year of multiple meetings and a dispute with civic bodies over the possibility of generating advertising revenue through them, the decks have finally been cleared for the Public Works Department (PWD) to undertake the construction of 10 new foot over-bridges (FOBs) across the Capital.|
According to a source, the 10 FOBs in question, which were stalled for around eight months, are among a total number of 24 such installations proposed as a significant measure to decongest, and gradually pedestrianise, the Capital.
Currently, there are 75 FOBs in the Capital with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government having allocated a sum of ₹800 crore in its budget for the 2017-18 fiscal for the construction of more such structures.
“There was a view within the Department that these FOBs should be built on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode with an aim to earning revenue through advertising from them which, however, is against the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority [EPCA] rules,” said a source.
“The underlying idea was to recover the entire cost of construction of these FOBs through the resulting revenue, which, in theory, seems sound but is against laid out guidelines which were reiterated in the meetings by the civic bodies and other government departments concerned. But neither the civic bodies nor the Delhi government were in the mood to budge from their respective positions leading to a stalemate,” the source claimed further.
A senior government official pointed out a recent directive from a Supreme Court Bench of Justices M.B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta which had directed the expeditious implementation of a new outdoor advertisement policy framed by the EPCA in addition to a clause necessitating the permission of local civic bodies for the erection of any hoardings.