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Since 1st March, 1999
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Traffic cops hunt down hoardings

Truck driver Surajmani Singh, carrying a consignment from Raipur to Adityapur, bumped into an auto on Pipeline Road in Sakchi around 10am on Thursday. Fortunately, no one was hurt. But, Singh was reprimanded by a traffic officer for using a road where entry of heavy vehicles is barred. He was not at fault though. A road sign obscured by ads had made him miss Marine Drive and take Pipeline Road instead

Driving inconveniences and consequences, which many a time is fatal, are largely to be blamed on hoardings and posters that either shadow or blot out important road signs in the steel city. This present and clear danger may soon be a thing of the past.

The East Singhbhum administration on Friday launched an extensive campaign against advertisements near traffic signs. While existing eye-hog hoardings are being dismantled across the city, new ones by political, social or any other outfit will invite hefty fines up to Rs 5,000. Repeat offenders may also be jailed.

DSP (traffic) R.M. Sinha said the drive was spurred by complaints of driving hazards and an alarming accident figure. Figures released by the district police show 138 dead and 190 injured in 306 accidents in and around Jamshedpur till September this year.

“Hoardings are distractions. We cannot take chances. All five traffic police inspectors in Mango, Jugsalai, Sakchi, Bistupur and Telco have been instructed to remove all posters and advertisements near and on road signs,” Sinha said, adding that to prevent the hoarding menace, the department had also decided to introduce penalty against errant parties.

“We will keep close watch. If any political party or other outfit is caught pasting posters to obscure road signs, they will be fined anything between Rs 500 and Rs 5,000. A second-time offence may lead to imprisonment up to six months,” he warned.

City-based voluntary organisation Safety Awareness for Everyone (SAFE), which has been spearheading a sustained campaign to curb road accidents in the city for nearly a decade, welcomed the district administration’s proactive stand.

Convener Chandra Sharan said they were glad to see that the authorities were taking concrete measures to curb mishaps on the road. “Blocked road signs cause inconvenience to commuters and, more worryingly, have the malignant potential to spill blood. The fine-for-hoarding step will go a long way to curb accidents,” he said.

The SAFE official added that the administration’s job didn’t end here. “After the hoarding campaign, the authorities must ensure that not a single driving licence is issued without the mandatory test.”

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