The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Billboards bother civic body

Bhubaneswar, May 21: In its march towards industrial boom, Bhubaneswar, like any other developing city, seems to have failed to check the mesh of billboards running uninterrupted across the cityscape.

Before the advertisement wars take a toll on the city’s greenery, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation had decided to implement measures to check the spread of advertisements across the city.

Though rules are in place, necessary action is still missing. Thus, there has been little or no improvement in the situation.

“It’s a nuisance. These (billboards) not only spoil a cityscape but also infringe upon roads and pose traffic hazards. Every high-rise nowadays have become a prospective location for securing an advertisement space,” said Bibhudutt Tripathy, a resident.

According to Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation safety norms, large billboards should be placed at a safe distance from traffic junctions to ensure the safety of commuters. But on the crowded Master Canteen Square, billboards have been put up right on the roadside and the civic body so far has done little to stop it.

Several rooftop advertisements, prohibited in residential areas, have come up at Acharya Vihar, Sahid Nagar, Ashok Nagar and Kharavela Nagar.

Many private business establishments have put up their billboards without consultation with the civic body.

Not only does the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation find it tough to collect its tax target from the advertisements, it usually fails to monitor safety standards of these billboards even in residential areas. As a result, rusty iron frames can be found dangling dangerously in many places of the city.

“The tax collected from advertisement is an important means of revenue for the BMC.

“We generally hand over advertisement rights to private agencies and brief them on the safety aspect and blocking view,” explained civic body commissioner Aparajita Sarangi.


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