PWD SIGNBOARDS TO BEAR CONTACT NUMBERS OF OFFICIALS RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGING THROUGHWAYSParas.Singh@timesgroup.com
New Delhi: On most important roads in the capital, there now are blue, arrow-shaped signboards that bear the contact numbers of officials responsible for managing Delhi’s throughways. Such boards, meant to fix accountability and improve the road maintenance mechanism, will soon stand on all roads with details of the area’s Public Works Department engineers and the contact numbers of the PWD control room as well.
R K Agarwal, engineerin-chief at PWD, said that the idea behind these boards was to improve the efficiency of complaint disposal. “Many times, when people find a problem with the road or see damage capable of causing an accident, they are unable to contact the right person immediately. With the details on the boards, they can directly contact the officer concerned rather than call on a helpline or take the longer route of filing a complaint,” Agarwal said.
The project will cover all the streets under the jurisdiction of PWD, which has the responsibility of maintaining roads wider than 60 feet in the capital. The agency looks after a 1,280-km network divided into three zones designated north, east and south. Following the directions of the lieutenant gover nor and Delhi gover nment on installing such signboards to enable public interface between engineers and road users, people now have a channel to reach the officials about road obstructions, damaged stretches and encroachments.
A study conducted by Delhi-based Institute of Road Traffic Education on 14 major arteries found that faulty signage was behind many accidents and traffic rule violations. Nearly 70 per cent of Delhi’s road signs were either wrongly designed or located. Of around 1,514 signboards — regulatory, war ning or infor mative — on the surveyed stretches, 1,098 (75%) were determined not to be meeting the prescribed norms.
Most RWAs support the idea of an oversight mechanism on complaints. Chetan Sharma of Greater Kailash II RWA, who is also general secretary of the Confederation of NCR RWAs, said, “People often don’t know whom to call for the various civic problems they face. There are so many control rooms and helplines. It helps to know which officer is directly responsible to know who is superior officers are,” said Sharma. But he also added that officials ignore calls from the residents and so Delhi government should install a monitoring mechanism to keep track of complaints.
“A major problem is the overlapping authority over streets where PWD and corporation roads intersect,” said PWD official, explaining why complaints sometimes took time to be resolved. Six authorities, including the local government bodies, National Highway Authority of India, PWD, DDA and DSIIDC, are responsible for the total road network of 33,868 lane kilometres across Delhi. The blue signboards will at least allow people to know whom to approach in this maze of officialdom.