Since private persons were permitted to utilise bus stops in Islamabad for free advertising, the Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) has suffered significant financial losses as a result of the lack of an advertising policy.
The DMA might make money by having private businesses advertise and brand various goods at bus/wagon stations that could be used for that purpose. However, it has given several of these locations to specific people without charge as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Policy.
These people purportedly make millions of dollars each month by advertising for local, national, and international businesses without making any payments to the DMA.
This is a significant fraud involving millions of rupees, according to a DMA officer. A thorough investigation of the situation is necessary to name everyone connected to the incident.
Another source revealed that some entities who have been benefitting from this CSR Policy had never attempted to formulate a policy that entails the DMA directly renting out bus stop spaces for advertising after bidding.
On the other hand, some officials claimed that the DMA has been bribed over many years to allot the bus stops under its purported ‘CSR Policy.’
DMA Director, Shakeel Arshad, affirmed that it has no policy in place for bus stop branding but denied that the DMA had been bribed.
He added the DMA is going to formulate a policy that will soon be finalized, and claimed, “During my tenure, I have formulated many policies and will finalize this one too.”
However, an official remarked that it would be better if the CSR Policy is in the interest of the DMA itself and Islamabad’s residents. He questioned what type of CSR Policy the DMA has that allows the owners of companies or persons affiliated with them to go from one office to another to get approvals for advertising at the bus stops.
Another officer said, “The DMA is a rich department which has a sufficient budget. If there is a need for establishing and repairing bus sheds it can do it from its own resources. Why private people are so interested in such deals.”
The Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI), which oversees the DMA, is now inoperative because elections haven’t been held in Islamabad since the end of the city’s previous administration in February of last year. Irfan Nawaz, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Islamabad, is managing the MCI’s affairs as an administrator while the local government is not present.
DC Islamabad seems surprisingly ignorant of the situation. He has stated that he will review the documents and develop a strategy that is best for Islamabad.
According to another officer, the Environment Department of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and other offices also permit private individuals to engage in comparable activities under their “CSR Policies,” and this calls for an investigation into cases where this is not in the best interests of the city and its citizens.
He stressed that “all types of branding and advertisements should be allowed after the competitive auction for generating revenues,” and added that some individuals had been allowed advertising and branding on a pick-and-choose basis during the last few years without bidding or competition.