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Road dividers should not distract

M. Soundariya Preetha

Placing advertisement hoardings on medians is a violation of government norms

PHOTO: S.SIVA SARAVANAN

For safer roads: Government of India norms on road safety do not permit placement of advertisement hoardings on medians or kerbs.

COIMBATORE: It is not just streetlights that are lighting up some of the city's roads now.

There are well-lit advertisements either on both sides of the road or on the median that attract the attention of road users, including drivers.

For many, the rows of advertisements not only distract their attention from the road but also block visibility of road junctions and entry to bylanes.

“Placing advertisement hoardings on the median or kerb is a violation of the Government of India norms and it risks the safety of the road user,” says K. Kathirmathiyon, secretary of the Coimbatore Consumer Cause.

There are provisions for Government funds to construct the median and this should be included in the project cost. However, it is noticed that private agencies fund the median work on many roads in Coimbatore and make use of the space for commercial purposes/advertisements.

For instance, the centre median work is in progress on NH 67 (Tiruchi Road) and the norms were violated again. Advertisements were placed on the median from Ondipudur to the stock exchange. And, the consumer body had pointed out the violation.

Now, works are on after the stock exchange and again advertisements are coming up, violating the norms.

“Since the rule is repeatedly violated and the road users' safety is not taken into account, we want action to be taken on officials who permitted the placement of advertisements and accountability should be fixed,” he says.

The Coimbatore Consumer Cause is even considering going to the court in this regard. The median on Avinashi Road from JM Bakery to Chinniyampalayam does not have any advertisement, he points out.

An official of the National Highways Authority of India here says that the authority has already communicated to the National Highways that advertisements should not be permitted on the median.

Prevention

The main idea of a median is to prevent a vehicle from crossing over from one section of the road to another. There are certain designs to be adopted for the median.

Even in the case of advertisements, only overhead gantry boards and cantilever hoardings can be placed. Advertisement on median is not permitted.

And on the hoarding, two-third of the space should be used to provide information related to traffic and only one third should be for advertisements. Indian Road Safety rules give clear guidelines on these and this should be followed, the official said.

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