KOCHI: Despite the measures taken by local bodies to regulate them, the huge hoardings atop buildings and along busy roads pose a threat to the safety of road users. Recently, a passenger fell from a motorbike and broke both his legs after a huge flex board fell on the vehicle. The incident occurred at the busy junction near Civil Station, Kakkanad. A major accident was narrowly averted only because of sheer luck according to those who witnessed the incident.
The unchecked practice of improperly installing hoardings, welcome arches and other display materials in gross violation of the norms, cause freak accidents. Meanwhile, the Kochi Corporation’s series of efforts to streamline display boards have failed. The proposal to install a radio frequency identification (RFID) system which will help in tracking flex boards and hoardings remains on paper. The civic body has earlier procured the RFID chips from KELTRON.
“The process to streamline display materials in the city is on. The executive engineer has been asked to identify seven locations for display of film advertisements. The right for showing film ads will be given to private agencies through tendering. The official has also been asked to submit a report on the number of illegal billboards. Thousands of loosely installed billboards ruin the visual aesthetics of the city,” said Shiny Mathew, town planning committee chairperson. “The big licensed hoardings has already been counted while the RFID chips will be put on them in the next phase. To ensure the safety of road users and to regain the city’s visual beauty, all unauthorised display boards will be removed in a phased manner."