Even as the UT administration is working on expanding its public bike sharing network in the city, Panjab University has taken exception to private coaching institutes’ advertisements being displayed at bike docking stations on its campus.
Seeking removal of such advertisements, the university has written to the chief general manager, Chandigarh Smart City Limited (CSCL), and has also held a meeting with the officials concerned.
The advertisements, primarily pertaining to coaching for civil services entrance exams, are displayed at prominent places on the campus, including Student Centre and administrative block.
Such advertisements popping up on the campus has left the faculty surprised, as the university runs its own IAS coaching centre. “The university cannot be a space to promote private centres,” said a PU teacher, requesting anonymity.
‘PU can’t allow advts promoting pvt institutions’
In its letter to CSCL, the university said a private vendor had installed advertisements on PU campus using varsity’s advertisement space. “The more disturbing factor is that the said advertisement promotes private coaching institutes. Being a public-funded university, PU cannot allow any advertisement promoting private institutions, especially when the university has its own IAS coaching centre,” the varsity has written, requesting that the advertisements be removed to restore the academic environment of the university campus.
Notably, it was suggested in the past that since the PU campus witnesses a huge footfall, the varsity should explore revenue generation by renting advertising space. However, the proposal could not mature amid academic fraternity’s opinion that advertisement banners will disturb the sanctity of the campus’ academic environment.
A senior university official said, “During the meeting with UT officials, we put forward our observation that these advertisements have a direct conflict of interest with the university and have asked for their removal.”
The matter may also come up during teh February 19 meeting of the PU Senate.
Launched in August 2021, the city’s public bike sharing project is heavily dependent on revenue generated from renting out advertisement spaces at the docking stations.
As many as 5,000 bicycles and 617 docking stations are envisaged under the project, of which 3,750 bicycles and 465 stations have already been made available through three gradual phases. The final phase is expected to be launched in July this year.
Using the Smart Bike app, bicycles can be rented for ₹10 for half-an-hour, while members can rent it for ₹5. One can register as a member for a year by making a one-time payment of ₹500.