NHAI to clear hoardings from both sides of national highway in Odisha

Project director of NHAI (Bhubaneswar) K Nageswara Rao has sought administrative support to clear the encroachments and remove the hoardings from both sides of NH-16.
NHAI image used for representation
NHAI image used for representation

BHUBANESWAR: The horrific hoarding collapse that killed 17 persons in Mumbai earlier this month has prompted the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to remove illegal hoardings from both sides of the NHs in the state.

Project director of NHAI (Bhubaneswar) K Nageswara Rao has sought administrative support to clear the encroachments and remove the hoardings from both sides of NH-16.

Sources said a large number of hoardings has come up along the 16-km stretch from Bamphakuda to Jagatpur on NH-16 under Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) limits. While the NHAI had removed some illegal hoardings, despite warnings to the encroachers, many still continue to clutter the skyline. Apart from the large hoardings and advertisements, including political, commercial and religious, small hoardings have been put up by the shopkeepers along the roads that lead to traffic snarls.

As per the guidelines of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), no commercial form of advertising, display or hoardings are permitted at any place along the highways if such advertisements, display or hoardings are visible to users while driving.

Last year, the NHAI had identified more than 50 illegal hoardings between Phulanakhara and Jagatpur under the CMC area. But, in absence of a proper plan to remove all these hoardings by the authorities concerned, the illegal structures can be seen dotting both the sides of the highway creating problems for commuters.

Rao said such hoardings erected on NHAI right of way (RoW) are a safety hazard to commuters and prone to falling on the carriageway during high wind or storms, posing grave risk to road users. “We had removed several hoardings for the safety of road users. But there are many such illegal structures which need to be removed and for that the support of CMC is required,” he said.

The NHAI officials said the CMC has assured them to conduct a joint inspection of illegal structures/hoardings within its limit and carry out the removal activities soon. Not only NH-16, the NHAI has also directed other project directors to clear encroachments along the highways under their jurisdiction.

Chief general manager of NHAI Odisha circle Veerendra Singh said zonal heads have been asked to ensure the highway sides are free from illegal hoardings at the earliest.

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