Corpn. erecting pole for advertisement near traffic junction evokes criticism

On Sunday, Municipal Administration Minister S.P. Velumani is likely to inaugurate a new toilet complex the Coimbatore Corporation has built near its North Zone office at the Balasundaram Road-Bharathiar Road Junction.

At Rs. 98 lakh, the Corporation has constructed five toilets and three bathrooms each for men and women. A release the Corporation issued on Friday said the civic body had used the money from its General Fund.

The design of the toilet is very similar to the one the Corporation had constructed on Dr. Nanjappa Road, next to the town bus stand. The Balasundaram Road toilet has an advertisement pole and so does the other toilet.

And, in both, the civic body seems to have violated rules in a similar fashion, if the objections raised by consumer activist K. Kathirmathiyon are anything to go by. “The advertisement pole is very close to the traffic junction, which is against the rules that says that advertisements are to be at least 100 m away from traffic junctions.”

He adds: the reason is not difficult to fathom because when the rule stipulates that advertisements have to be parallel to the road and not facing the road user, erecting an advertisement pole at the junction becomes impossible.

The Corporation committed an illegality in erecting the hoarding at the Dr. Nanjappa Road toilet complex and now it has repeated it.

Corporation officials say that it is with the revenue from the advertisement that the civic body plans to maintain the toilet, which is free for the user.

As for getting permission for erecting the pole to display advertisements, the officials say the Town Planning wing is in the process of sending a letter to the District Collector, who is the competent authority to grant permission for advertisements.

Town Planning wing officials were not reachable.

When contacted, a senior official said he would ensure that no rule was violated in erecting the pole and displaying the advertisement.

Consumer activist Mr. Kathirmathiyon says it will be illegal for the Collector to grant permission on the Corporation’s application and there is no scope for him to grant conditional approval, as no such provision exists in the law.

The Corporation is allowed to have any number of advertisements to raise revenue but let that be in accordance with law.

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