Seeking to put a lid on the controversy over auctioning the naming rights of IIT Metro station to FIITJEE, the outdoor advertising agency that had struck the deal for a period of 10 years has ended its contract with the coaching institute.
An official of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said the new contract of station naming, technically called “co-branding”, has now gone to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
“The co-branding arrangement with FIITJEE for IIT Metro station was scrapped by Pioneer Advertising over some issues, and rights have now been given to the Bureau of Indian Standards. Delhi Metro’s contract is with Pioneer Advertising and we have no direct involvement in this change,” DMRC executive director (corporate communications) Anuj Dayal told The Indian Express. Pioneer Outdoor Advertising holds the naming rights of 32 stations, including IIT, on DMRC network.
The controversy had erupted after IIT-Delhi flagged its objections to the renaming of the station after the coaching institute giant that trains students to get into the IITs, saying it gives an impression that the two have entered into an agreement.
The matter had reached the Delhi High Court, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Ministry for Housing and Urban Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office, among others. In May and June, the HC had ordered that disclaimers be put up to clearly establish that IIT has no association with FIITJEE.
Deepak Vasudeva, director, Pioneer Publicity Corporation Pvt Ltd, said: “The controversy was not helping us. We had sent them several reminders to abide by the HC’s directions and put up disclaimers saying FIITJEE is not associated with IIT. The fonts of the station name and the disclaimers had to be of similar sizes. But unfortunately there was no response from FIITJEE’s side.”
FIITJEE could not be contacted for a comment.
During the hearing, the High Court had also pulled up the DMRC for having opted for such apparently deceptive branding. But DMRC had distanced itself, saying its stations are awarded for semi-naming rights through an open e-tendering process. The licencee that wins the rights accordingly manages the selection of brands on its own, it had said.
Apart from Pioneer, other agencies involved in the process are Shalimar Advertisements, Uppal Chadhha High Tech, Jagran Prakashan, Jotindra Steel and Tubes Ltd, Ace Enterprises, Supertech Realtors Pvt Ltd, Signpost India Pvt Ltd, Planet Advertising Pvt Ltd, Explo Media Pvt Ltd, IOCL, Escorts, IGL, Hindustan Publicity Pvt Ltd, and Oriental Insurance Company Ltd.
DMRC officials said work is underway to remove the FIITJEE brand name from all entry and exit points to the station.