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Regulate extra-bright hoardings, or just junk them

Updated on: 12 April,2024 04:27 AM IST  |  Mumbai
The Editorial |

Railway officials allegedly told affected commuters not to look at the board, but that’s not the solution.

Regulate extra-bright hoardings, or just junk them

The LCD screen installed near platform no 1 at Andheri railway station

As though there are not enough problems plaguing our local railway stations, recent reports said a giant LCD advertising board at Andheri station is distracting commuters.

A 41-year-old commuter walking down the stairs was suddenly blinded by a bright light from the right. He slipped down the staircase, damaging his expensive cell phone and injuring himself.

A commuter rights activist confirmed that this was not an isolated incident and that there have been reports of other passengers getting blindsided by this giant screen, which has changing ads, some of which emit high luminescence white light, blinding those directly facing it. Railway officials allegedly told affected commuters not to look at the board, but that’s not the solution.

This is just the latest in a slew of very bright digital hoardings all around Mumbai, the worst being those dotting the highway. Then, there are the ugly lights wrapped around trees. Activists believe they adversely affect the city’s flora and fauna. So much so that some have moved the Bombay High Court, which on Thursday sought a reply from all civic bodies in MMR.

Admittedly, these big, ugly and extra-bright hoardings earn the struggling civic body handsome revenue. As per reports, a digital hoarding fetches the city a 50 per cent premium over regular hoardings. Ditto, we are sure, is the case for the railways. Nobody grudges these government bodies their revenues. But, as the high court has hinted, these are highly unregulated grey areas that administration and advertisers are exploiting.

While the civic bodies get back to the high court with their replies, the National Green Tribunal and the advertising watchdog also need to step in and formulate guidelines for things like peak brightness, placement, timing, etc.

The city and its railway stations should not wait till a horrible accident costs limbs and lives.

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