PMC's slapdash campaign against illegal hoardings

Mar 15, 2013, 01:53 IST | Sandip Kolhatkar

Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) officials must have been patting themselves on the back after complying with the High Court's directives to remove all such unauthorised structures in the city within 24 hours.

However, civic officials were messy to say the least, as posters of political parties and commercial advertisements were seen scattered on the road, leading to major traffic congestions, and in one case, a fire official was injured and a fire tender damaged as a section of a hoarding collapsed on them.

Unwanted hurdle:Traffic on Raja Bahadur Rd went haywire after hoardings and their support structures collapsed while PMC personnel were removing them. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

During the daylong drive, the officials and personnel of Sky-Signs department of anti-encroachment cell of PMC removed more than 150 hoardings of political parties and commercial advertisements erected at all over the city. But it seems there was no planning before the campaign as PMC did not chalk any plan to avoid traffic congestion and disruption while removing the structures with cranes, gas-cutters, hammers and ropes and that reflected in many major traffic junctions.

At Regional Transport Office (RTO) square, while dismantling several hoardings, which were erected on metallic structures, some grass caught fire and that prompted PMC officials to call a fire tender. The fire officials doused the flames. But, the mammoth metallic structures and the hoardings accidentally fell on the fire tender and the driver Shree Sundar sustained injuries. Traffic chaos followed.

In a similar incident on Raja Bahadur Road near Pune Railway Station, PMC workers felled six to seven illegal structures. However, the pieces remained scattered on the road affecting vehicular movement. When contacted, Ramesh Shelar, head of anti-encroachment cell of PMC accepted that there was haphazardness, and said that all the structures lying on the road will be removed soon.

“We accept that there was lack of planning before the drive. However, we will take this suggestion positively and implement it in the coming days and make sure that no such felled structure remains on the road,” he said. While speaking to MiD DAY, deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Vishwas Pandhare said, “PMC officials did not approach the traffic branch in advance. If they had, we would have planned the movement of traffic on major roads and mishaps could have averted.”

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