The Department of Road has removed the advertisement display boards at Durbarmarg which were helping Durbarmarg Development Board recover its investment in the recently installed solar-powered street lamps.
In the wake, the DDB has decided to switch off the the street lamps, saying that it will not be able to recover its investment in the solar street lamp project .
Last month, solar-powered lamps had been installed in the Durbarmarg stretch at a cost of Rs 11.79 million with the joint effort from the DDB and the Kathmandu Metropolitan City in which the monetary cost was borne by the DDB. The project was a part of KMC’s “ Kathmandu Ujyalo Karyakram”—a project aimed to light up the streets of Kathmandu .
DDB President Gopal Sundar Lal Kakshapati said they have been discouraged by the action of DoR. “The government stakeholders could not install the street lamps for nearly 25 years, and when we took the initiative to light up Durbarmarg, we have been put into trouble.” Kakshapati added that DDB had taken permission from the KMC and the DoR before installing the street lamps and that they had followed the standard.
“We have made a certain investment in the project and we deserve to recover it,” he demanded.
The understanding between the DDB and the KMC says that revenue from these 32 inch display boards can be collected for five years. Although one of the clauses in the contract between DoR and the DDC says that the latter could remove the structure according to its convenience.
KMC Chief Laxman Aryal said the billboards do not fall under the metropolis’ jurisdiction. “The road department had approved the construction and design before granting the permission. They cannot pull it out when ever they wished,” said Aryal.
The KMC also collects revenue of Rs 700,000 annually from these boards.
Meanwhile, Gopal Khadka of the Kathmandu Road Division under the DoR said the display boards were not part of the plan. “We’d just approved solar light installation, not the advertisements. Anyone would invest in these roads, provided they could advertise. We were also unaware about the deals made by the DDB with the KMC about the advertisement.” claimed Khadka. He added the boards were removed as they were placed improperly and to the inconvenience of the vehicles. “We can pull down anything that’s in violation of road safety,” said Khadka.