An advertising unipole crashed near the Hapur Road flyover on Thursday night and damaged at least three vehicles, including the official vehicle of Sihani Gate station house officer (SHO) who escaped unhurt along with other personnel.
The incident took place around 11.30 pm when SHO Avnish Gautam, driver Manoj Kumar, two constables and an assistant sub inspector were heading for routine night patrol and proceeding towards the Raj Nagar District Centre (RDC) flyover.
“The unipole collapsed and made a huge dent on our car apart from tearing off the iron plating near the door of the driver’s seat. The police staff escaped without injuries. An autorickshaw and another car were damaged and the auto driver also sustained injuries, but he has not arrived with any complaint so far. We will investigate and lodge a complaint with municipal corporation officials,” Gautam said.
This is the second incident of a unipole collapse in the past two weeks. On May 5, a major unipole had crashed on GT Road near river Hindon, injuring four people and damaging three vehicles. A magisterial inquiry is already underway into that incident.
According to officials from the Ghaziabad municipal corporation, unipoles in the city are set up by different private firms under an agreement.
“We are issuing notice to the private firm that erected the pole that crashed on Thursday. It is also a matter of inquiry as to how it crashed. The firms have contracts since 2008. We have tried to cancel their contracts but every time they approach court and obtain a stay. We will take appropriate legal action,” said DK Sinha, additional municipal commissioner.
Municipal commissioner Abdul Samad had said on Thursday that the corporation had uprooted nearly 300 unipoles set up illegally across the city during a drive from May 2 to May 10.
“We are also issuing recovery notices to various firms to the tune of Rs. 7.5 crore (per unipole). A total of nearly 3,000 illegal hoardings and unipoles were removed from roads during the drive,” Samad said.
According to sources, getting contracts of advertising rights on major roads in the city has become a lucrative business for many parties. The number of illegal unipoles removed by the corporation suggests that firms awarded contracts are erecting more than the sanctioned number of such poles.
Police sources too said they have received information that new players who want to get advertising contracts could be tampering with the foundations of the existing unipoles in the city.
“There have been disputes reported earlier between those who want advertising contracts and the employees of the advertising firms who presently hold contracts. It is also suspected that those who want to get advertising contracts are damaging the unipoles so that such incidents bring a bad name to firms with existing contracts,” Gautam said.