Punjab traffic adviser Navdeep Asija, during his recent visit to the city, has found the construction of the bus queue shelters faulty. Talking to HT on Thursday, Asija said, “In accordance with the Ludhiana municipal corporation’s outdoor advertisement bylaws 2014, the bus shelters, due to their inappropriate size and locations, violate majority of the road safety criteria given in the Clause 4.”
Asija said, “Moreover such big sized bus queue shelters are not being built anywhere across the globe except Ludhiana. These defeat its primary objective and act as large size billboards near intersection, causing traffic jams. The locations where these have been built demand high level of concentration of drivers due to poor road conditions.”
According to Asija, it distracts the attention of drivers near intersections. The shelters are being installed on footpaths, thus hindering the movement of pedestrian.
“It violates the placement criteria as specified in 10.3 for the lateral placements, which says such facilities shall be placed at a minimum 1.5m clearance from any boundary wall and does not restrict the movement of the pedestrians. Its size itself is a safety hazard for pedestrians. Moreover, these shelters not protecting passengers waiting for public transport vehicles from rain and sunlight,” he said.
“Such important road safety criteria has been compromised. The design is approved by the MC, so it certainly calls for an inquiry. The same shall be brought into the knowledge of the Punjab and Haryana high court (HC) on the next date of hearing on January 15, 2016, under COCP 2695 of 2012,” said Asija.
While talking to HT, city-based RTI activist Kuldeep Singh Khaira said, “Instead of bus shelters, these look more like unipoles. These will cause traffic jams.”
Question raised over MC documents
The controversy over the new bus queue shelters has deepened as two documents mentioning different sizes of advertisements on the structures of the bus queue shelters have been surfaced.
One document states that the dimension should be 176 sq feet while the second document states that it should be 500 sq feet. The second document suggests that the new dimension (500 sq feet) has been written after striking down the previous text (176 sq feet).
The MC claims that the cutting on the document has been done only with the state government’s approval.
MC advertisement wing superintendent Harvinder Singh said, “There is nothing wrong as the cutting on the document was done officially. The MC has granted permission to the contractor, Greenline, to display the advertisements of 500 sq feet. All the bus shelters have been setup as per MC’s master plan. There is no violation. I can’t check the technical points of the bus shelters. However, the advertisement regulatory committee is looking into the matter regarding the norms and technical issues.”
It is worth mentioning here that the MC has appointed road safety expert Kamaljit Soi to inspect the bus shelters.
What company’s representative says?
Greenline’s representative Shavinder Singh Sandhu said, “The cutting on the document was done before we signed the agreement in 2009 with the MC. Earlier, the civic body had not constructed any bus shelter due to which we faced huge losses. Following which we had moved Punjab and Haryana high court and then we filed contempt petition as MC failed to pay compensation.”
He said, “In 2015, the MC asked us to construct 82 bus queue shelters and gave permission to display advertisements on them for the next four years. These bus shelters are being constructed as per the MC’s master plan. Some people are leveling false allegations against us. We possess the approved plan which has been signed by the MC for setting up of the bus queue shelters.”
“We will follow the directions of the advertisement regulatory committee. If any change is required, we are ready to follow the recommendations of the traffic experts,” he added.
The firm has also claimed that the MC did not raise any objection when they started raising structures for the bus shelters. Questions are also being raised that why MC did not check any violation regarding traffic norms.