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Ad poles spark face-off

- Traffic police, RMC draw swords over demolition drive

Ranchi Municipal Corporation is at loggerheads with traffic police over Sunday’s demolition of foundations to erect adverstisement poles flanking Main Road.

Authorities in the traffic department said the structures — meant to put up large, lighted hoardings propped on a single pole — were causing traffic snarls.

Traffic officials claimed the civic body, RMC marketing officer Shiv Kumar Thakur in particular, should have taken a no-objection certificate before building the foundations.

RMC officials, on the other hand, claimed they did not require permission to build anything in areas falling under their jurisdiction, adding that it was the traffic department that was bound to have informed it before going ahead with the demolition.

“The foundations were demolished on February 9 after traffic officials received complaints that two of the structures were causing congestion near Daily Market,” said superintendent of police (traffic) Rajeev Ranjan.

He said RMC should have thought about commuters and traffic personnel before erecting the structures. “We were compelled to demolish the foundations after realising that the civic authorities were indifferent to the problem of traffic snarls in the city. It is the commuter and the traffic personnel who suffer congestion woes,” he said.

Ranjan maintained that if the civic body did not want a repeat of such demolition drives, they must take NOCs from the traffic department before going ahead with erection of advertisement poles on Main Road.

But civic officials blamed the traffic police instead. They said the department was unjustified in demanding that RMC should seek NOCs each time they planned to erect ad poles.

Law officer of Ranchi Municipal Corporation Arwind Srivastava said: “Jharkhand Municipal Act provides the civic body legal rights over land coming under its jurisdiction. So, RMC does not require any NOC from traffic department before going ahead with any construction.

He went on to say that if traffic officials felt the poles caused snarls, they should have approached the civic body.

“If traffic officials want RMC’s co-operation in streamlining traffic movement, they should put up a proposal in this regard. RMC will definitely consider it. But, demolishing any structure without taking the civic body in confidence is a wrong move,” he said.

RMC’s chief executive officer Manoj Kumar, however, parried the query. “I do not have any grievance with the traffic SP. Both of us are doing government jobs,” he said.

The Telegraph had, in its December 27 edition, highlighted the problems caused by the huge ad poles.

There are as many as 48 advertisement poles already erected across the city. The huge billboards these prop up obstruct drivers’ views and can lead to mishaps. This apart, heavy vehicles run the risk of hitting them at night.

Has any advertisement monopole posed a hurdle for you?

Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com