Calcutta, Aug. 29: Desperate to mobilise additional resources, the West Bengal PWD has increased the cost of advertising through hoardings along all roads maintained by it.
PWD minister Amar Chowdhury today said the price of hoarding space on roads in Calcutta areas like VIP Road, BT Road and Jessore Road has been hiked from Rs 1,000 per square metre to Rs 8,000 per square metre. In the districts, the rate has been increased from Rs 1,000 to Rs 4,000 per square metre, added the minister.
Chowdhury said the public works department expected to net an additional Rs 10 crore each year through this price hike. “We have hiked the rates to attain parity with the rates charged by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation and the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority,” Chowdhury said.
CMDA and CMC rates ranged between Rs 6,000 to Rs 6,500 per square meter.
The PWD also wants to raise funds by imposing toll taxes on its new bridges. The department has identified three bridges — Pandabeswar and Dishergarh in Burdwan district and Bhedia in Birbhum — where a feasibility survey is on to determine how much the user charge should be and the projected revenue collection by the state.
“Our fund situation is in dire straits and we need desperately to raise money from every possible source available to us,” the minister said.
Chowdhury said his department had received not more than 10 per cent of the plan and non-plan budget outlay till now. “We owe more than Rs 200 crore to our contractors who are restive as some bills have been pending for a while,” he said.
The PWD has also rationalised the “base rates” on specification of material, workmanship, quality assurance, cost of work and labour. Till now, the PWD had six schedules of rates. A committee has been formed to publish the new rates as soon as possible.
The minister, however, could not say how much revenue is currently collected from advertisement spaces.