The Telegraph e-Paper
The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Real fear stalks arterial divider

- Jutting out metal, placards & party flags are all deadly ‘ghosts’

On Monday around 11.30am, carpenter Shambhu Singh (45), while cycling on Ranchi Main Road, shrieked so loudly that he scared the living daylights off commuters and brought all traffic to a startled halt.

Singh, who thought he was being pulled back by some supernatural force, screamed “bhoot” in decibel levels that would have done Ramsay Brothers proud. Finally, a man got down from a car behind him and pulled out a stick that had happened to get stuck on Singh’s sweater.

The stick was nothing supernatural. It was one of the thousands of poles used for JVM flags that have been dotting the city since the party’s Sunday rally. These are also mounted in rows all across the stretch of the dividers — between the gaps — all the way from Albert Ekka Chowk to Sujata Chowk.

Now, almost all the flags have bent to 180 degrees. The sticking-out poles and flapping flags are an open invitation to mishaps.

More so for cyclists like Singh and two-wheelers who have to squeeze on the side of arterial roads to give the bigger vehicles room.

It is not just about the flags of one political party. Sticking-out placards of some salon, protruding aluminium sheets on the iron frames of dividers are all invitations to accidents.

Traffic constables at Sarjana Chowk said they had seen several mishaps due to these “ears” jutting out of dividers. “On Friday, two students of St Xavier’s College were injured when their scooty took a tumble while trying to avoid a placard protruding from the divider. They were sent to sadar hospital for first-aid,” a constable said.

Nurses at sadar hospital emergency confirmed that commuters were often injured by the risky “ears”.

“It’s a very common occurrence now. Apart from general first-aid, we also give them anti-tetanus injections,” said sadar hospital manager Antara Jha.

Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) holds the key to permit or ban advertisements or placards on the city’s road dividers.

Logically, it must also ensure that commuters and pedestrians are not hurt on road due to such displays.

Gopalji Tiwari, RMC deputy chief executive officer, told The Telegraph that they had no control over political parties.

“From our end, we can only make a polite request to them either not to put up flags at all or install them properly. As far as private advertisements go, we will definitely take a note of this problem,” he said.

Now, watch out for the real danger. The shadowy ghosts of excuses and delays.

Have you ever been hurt by a protrusion from a divider?