PHA to kick the ladder from under banners, hoardings


After staying idle for a long time, Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) is finally in the mood to remove all outdoor publicity material hiding traffic signage to help road-users navigate safely.
PHA newly-posted Director General Capt Mehmood Ahmed told Pakistan Today that practice of hanging banners and steamers over traffic signs that made them invisible to commuters was rife. Terming it illegal, he said that all sort of signage including direction signs and warning signs were meant to help road-users find the way.
Camouflaging them with stuff of static media was intolerable and PHA would address the situation at earliest, he added
Sources in PHA said almost 50 percent traffic and direction signs, erected to inform road user and guide the vehicular traffic to head towards its desire destination, had turned to be redundant after losing their visibility as they had widely been encroached and hid under the outdoor publicity materials and spilling out branches of tress at different roads even the main boulevards of the city.
A survey revealed that almost half traffic and direction signs had lost their utility. “They remain covered with steamers and banners displayed by advertising companies. PHA that allows them to string on publicity material under contract least bother to check the glaring anomaly,” sources disclosed.
Though the encroachment on road and navigation signage continues unabated, TEPA, PHA and CDGL considered as responsible to carryout the maintenance of the traffic and direction signs have not been playing their role. Each of them fixes responsibility on the other, stating that they have nothing to do with the problem.
A PHA official said although TEPA was the answerable for the maintenance of the traffic and directions signs, PHA, however, kept removing streamers, banners and all sort of outdoor advertisement materials which damaged the visibility of the traffic signs, signals and direction signs. He said, “Our teams patrol everywhere and take action against the violators. Whenever and wherever any objectionable development is brought into the knowledge of the PHA administration, it comes into action to address the issue.”
TEPA official, seeking anonymity, said CDGL and PHA were directly responsible in this regard. He said TEPA was responsible for maintenance only for the period of the contact and after the contract ended, it was not its responsibility. He said under the agreement between PHA and publicity companies, no provision had been placed which could restrict former to avoid encroaching the direction signs. And even fine had not been imposed on violation, he claimed.
According to survey, besides other main arteries, Main Boulevard, Gulberg has been badly hit by encroachment by the publicity stuffs and leafy stems of tress
The streamers and tress branches are hanging over the dark blue plates of traffic and direction signs making the formers visibility badly affected. As the direction signs, also called informative signs, are covered with streamers, people look to be blind and disoriented, and have to ask passers-by and commuters to get to their destination.
Rahid Supra, a car-rider told Pakistan Today that people were facing problems because navigation signs were not visible. The people hailing from Gulberg had really appreciated these navigation signs, he said, but recent situation was disappointing, he added.
He said “If our educated elected leadership is showing apathy to this problem then what can one expect from a common man.”
Zahidia Baig, entering Main Market on her car said that “our political and civic authorities have to decide whether these signboards are of any use or helpful for the commuters or not. If yes, then they must order, or demand removal of such banners from the traffic signs. If they think that these road signs are of no use, someone must be held accountable for wasting taxpayer’s money in erecting these expensive road signs,” she added.