Sponsors upset, police lose traffic barricades
The city traffic police are running out of barricades, with miffed private firms that sponsored the barriers taking them back after policemen were instructed to remove the advertisements on them. St Thomas Mount police district had 1,000 barricades last month, but at least 500 were taken back by private firms. Barricades play a major role in controlling crowds, regulating traffic and preventing speeding by motorists. With sponsors taking the barricades off the roads, policemen are finding it difficult to control traffic.
They are now hunting for alternatives. Policemen have been using goods tricycles and worn-out vehicle tyres in place of barricades in no-entry stretches near Nanganallur, Madipakkam and Adambakkam and a few other suburban areas. "We have hidden some of the barricades to prevent sponsors from taking them away," a police officer said. "We have requested the sponsors not to take away the barricades because it will result in traffic chaos in the city."
In places like Saidapet and on Anna Salai, the barricades are used as medians after the roads were made one-way. Barricades paid for by some engineering colleges and textile showrooms have been taken away by the sponsors. Police officers said the sponsors are taking away the barricades in the night. The barricades cost between 3,500 and 12,000. The sponsors were allowed to utilise 20% of the space on each barricade for advertisements.
But recently it was decided that the barricades be used only to carry messages on traffic safety, not advertisements. "Our aim was to advertise on the barricades," said a spokesperson for a leading textile outlet in T Nagar. "If the police are going to remove the ads, why should we sponsor the barricades?" Joint commissioner of police, traffic (south), V A Ravi Kumar said policemen have been asked to remove advertisements on the barricades.
"This is to avoid distraction to motorists," he said.