Big Shame: Samajwadi Party posters hide route signs on national highway

By on February 26, 2014
If you are on your way into UP via the NH-24, get ready to ask your way through. Most of the signage erected by the NHAI to guide commuters to their destinations have been completely covered by flex banners and hoardings of the Samajwadi Party, which has sounded the bugle for Lok Sabha elections.

The tsunami of posters and banners violate national highway rules and also block and distract drivers’ views besides camouflaging road signs at several places, thereby increasing the chances of accidents. For UP, this is not something new as during the previous regime headed by Mayawati, blue banners dotted every intersection, streetlight poles and retro-reflective overhead signage.

While the party is trying to make an impact in the two Lok Sabha seats – where its strength is negligible -through the campaign, political heavyweights in the region have termed the unauthorized displays as the party’s recurring proclivity for violating the rule of law.

Rival political parties viewed the campaign as the party’s desperate attempt to increase its presence in the region. In the last general elections, the Ghaziabad seat had been won by BJP’s Rajnath Singh while the Gautam Budh Nagar constituency had gone to BSP’s Surendra Naagar. In the 2012 assembly polss, the party had managed to bag just one out of 10 constituencies in both parliamentary seats.

“The poster campaign smacks of complete misuse of power by the Samajwadi Party. It proves that they have scant regard for the rule of law,” said Naagar, Gautam Budh Nagar MP.

BJP’s western UP wing said that it would approach the Election Commission to demand the removal of illegal hoardings on the highway. “They have violated rules in an attempt to gain electoral dividends. It’s an infringement on the rights of commuters,” said Bhupendra Singh, president, BJP (western UP).

The division of the NHAI, which is in charge of the Ghaziabad highway, claims it conducts regular drives for the removal of illegal hoardings and banners from the highway. “There are no legal provisions to install hoardings or banners on highways. Though we dismantle them regularly, new posters are re-installed in no time,” said AK Bhadauria, executive engineer, NH-24 (Ghaziabad).

Residential societies in Indirapuram had complained to district authorities demanding the removal of the hoardings that pose a danger to commuters. “But there was no response from the authorities. Officials expressed their helplessness in clamping down upon workers of the ruling political party,” said Alok Kumar, president, Federation of Apartment Owners’ Association, Ghaziabad.

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