Several illegal hoardings and a controversial traffic signal on VIP Road, in the Lake Town police station area, were pulled down in a drive conducted by the police and the Public Works Department (PWD) on Saturday.
“More than 20 illegal hoardings in Golaghata, Sribhumi, the Lake Town crossing, Bangur and other areas along VIP Road were brought down between 10 am and 6 pm,” said additional superintendent of police Ajay Nand on Saturday.
“There was no law and order problem. The day-long operation was quite smooth,” he added. Senior officials and engineers of the PWD were present during the operation.
PWD sources said the drive against the hoardings was long overdue. “Several attempts had been made earlier to pull down the illegal hoardings, but we could not go ahead with the plan due to stiff resistance from local youth,” a PWD official said. “But we were determined to carry out the operation this time,” Nand added.
The traffic signal at the intersection of Bangur Avenue and VIP Road, in the South Dum Dum municipal area, which had triggered a lot of controversy among the civic authorities, was also demolished in the operation. The signal was installed in February 2003 at the initiative of the police. Sources said local people, too, had pooled in around Rs 50,000 for setting up the signal.
But the South Dum Dum municipality took serious exception to the move. Municipal chairman Sreehir Bhattacharjee had criticised then superintendent of police, North 24-Parganas, M. Harisena Verma for keeping the civic body in the dark about the issue.
“The signal was illegal because the police had not taken permission from the authorities concerned,” Bhattacharjee said. “The municipality and the PWD knew nothing about it and I was surprised to find my name in the invitation card for the inauguration,” he added.
Police officers, however, said the signal had benefited the people. “Although it was illegal, since permission had not been taken from the PWD, the local people benefited a lot as it was an accident-prone area,” a senior police officer said.