Saturday, August 28, 2010

Delhiites Show Their Grace: Feel Free to Damage road Signs

The signboards which were supposed to help tourists find their way in Lutyens’ Delhi have already been damaged with the Commonwealth Games still more than a month away.

According to New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), people in several areas in the capital have scratched out letters from the signboards installed at ground level. In many NDMC areas, one is left clueless about the name of a lane or building.

The civic body will now have to replace these signboards and will put a thin film to prevent Delhiites from destroying the signage further. NDMC spokesperson Anand Tiwari said: ‘‘Names of lanes and buildings installed at ground level have been scratched out in many areas. We will now have to replace them and put a thin film over the other signboards to prevent them from being damaged. Fortunately, the overhead signage are untouched. Since the signage are retro-reflective, we can’t even paint the letters back.’’

NDMC was to install around 7,000 signage in its area and the work has almost been completed. An NDMC official said: ‘‘The cost of installing these signage is between Rs 25-30 crore and each signboard has cost Rs 5,000. When we started installing the signage we did not foresee such a problem. We did not imagine that people will actually scratch out letters.’’

The signage which have been partially damaged due to scratching include those installed outside Embassy of Nepal, Patiala House Court, National Human Rights Commission, Palika Kendra and those displayed at Firozshah Road, Rajaji Marg, Kautiliya Marg, Lodi Road, Copernicus Marg, Maharishi Raman Marg etc.

Sources said many residents have objected to the signage being only in English. ‘‘Some people have protested against the use of only English. The usual practice of giving names in Hindi, Urdu, Gurmukhi and English is not being followed every where,’’ said the sources.

According to NDMC officials, ‘‘The signage conform to international standards and norms. They are color coded. The green boards display names of lanes and streets while the blue ones are meant for buildings and yellow stands for caution etc. These retro-reflective signage will be visible at night too.”

Meanwhile, the PWD has almost finished installing signage in its areas. PWD officials said since they have not stuck individual letters as done in NDMC areas, their signboards cannot be damaged. ‘‘We have placed a white sheet and cut out letters from blue or green sheet. Hence, they cannot be scratched out. The cost of installing signage’s in our areas is Rs 25 crore.’’

Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), however, is yet to start installing signage’s.

MCD press and information director Deep Mathur: ‘‘We have started installing polls now and the signboards will be put up shortly.”