Despite being not allowed under any statute illegal hoardings on national highways adorn the stretches of NH-24 as well as NH-58 in Ghaziabad and also many parts of Delhi. The Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam (GNN) is the main agency giving out tenders to contractors to put up hoardings on uni-poles in the city, however this power to give advertising tenders excludes the national highways that are anyways looked after by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI). “But this lucrative business where lakhs change hands is on the rise due to a nexus of contractors and officials,” alleged Sushil Raghav, noted environmental activist of Ghaziabad.
Raghav has written a letter to Chairman of NHAI wherein he had stated “that with reference to circular dated 5th December, 2017 issued by the National Highways Authority of India that says to remove every form of commercial advertising, display or hoarding at any place on the site if such advertising, display or hoarding shall be visible to the users and is a distraction while driving on such highway.” The letter further stated: “In district Ghaziabad no commercial advertising display or hoarding has been removed from the National Highways No.24, 57, 58 and 91. There are still unauthorized poles, unipoles, gantries and hoarding on the highway. Some of them are erected on the green belt of the Highways No.57, 58, 91 and 24. At highway No. 8 and 1, there are hoardings on the green belts also.”
Raghav told delhincrnews.in that the contractors in collusion with the GNN officials have managed to cover the NH stretches and even put up hoardings along the highways on farmers’ plots. These hoardings are a major distraction and a cause of accidents he claimed. He asked that if a uni-pole or a large hoarding falls over a motorist or a passing vehicle thereby fatally wounding or resulting in death of occupants, then who would be held accountable?
NHAI General Manager/Project Director RP Singh said that the NHAI takes action against persons putting up such illegal hoardings from time to time. He said that the illegal hoardings are a nuisance for the NHAI itself, however they have nothing to do with the tendering of such hoarding advertisements. Singh further said that another drive against illegal hoardings and uni-poles on NH stretches in Ghaziabad will be conducted in March.
Municipal Commissioner could not be reached for comments as he was away to Aligarh, a GNN employee informed, on calling his office.
Raghav told delhincrnews.in that he will be soon writing a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) so that action is taken against all such illegal advertisement hoardings all over the country.
–Prasoon Pant, delhincrnews.in