November 26, 2009 9:13:10 am
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has floated a proposal to erect billboards with pictures of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi every 25 km on all National Highways under it.
The 20×10-ft boards will carry a picture of the two leaders on both sides of the road clearly a move to highlight the UPA effort in pushing the National Highways Development Programme (NHDP).
The NHDP includes all highways bid out under the aegis of the NHAI including the Golden Quadrilateral,North-South and East-West corridors. There are over 70,000 km of national roads in the country and thousands of kilometres are to be added in the next few years.
The NHAI,which has issued a fixed format for the billboards with a colour scheme for replication,has called for strict compliance by the concessionaire. The cost of setting up these boards will also be borne by the developer,according to a circular issued by the NHAI.
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The double-side boards are expected to cost roughly Rs 4 lakh each,according to industry estimates. In case of projects involving four-laning of say 1,000 km,the developer will have to pay Rs 1.6 crore for setting up 40 such boards. During the concession period of 20 or 30 years as fixed under the contract,the onus of maintaining these boards will be on the private developer.
The boards will also carry names of the project,concessionaire,project director and supervision engineer in addition to the date of start,completion,project cost and a complaint number.
The circular states that these boards can be made with either retro-reflective or non-retro reflective material. It says that in case retro-reflective sheeting material is used,photographs of the PM and UPA chairperson will have to be in non-retro reflective material. This is to ensure clarity of the pictures.
The NHAI has forbidden the use of perforated boards that can minimise wind pressure. Asked if the boards violated NHAIs own policy on roadside ads,the authority has clarified that the display board is not a roadside advertisement… it is project-related information displayed for the benefit of road users and as per approved format.
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