Traffic was thrown out of gear in the morning rush hours on the Begumpet-Secunderabad stretch when GHMC pulled down a huge unauthorised gantry (big steel poles with advertisement boards) on the key Rasoolpura junction on Thursday.

Traffic lights too stopped functioning and were not restored till late in the night when the private agency Stanpower, which set up the gantry almost a year ago, pulled out the controller. Traffic police had to press additional men and marshal the heavy vehicular movement manually.

Additional Commissioner (Traffic & Transportation) S. Subba Rao said that the gantry was dismantled as it was illegally installed and also on account of public safety. Notices issued to remove it voluntarily were ignored. He also said a police case would be filed against the agency for disabling the traffic signal.

It was not the first gantry of the agency to be pulled down as last month other illegal gantries at Punjagutta, Gymkhana, Anand theatre, between CTO and YMCA flyover and Begumpet airport road were pulled down.

The agency had also put up “signals partially at six of the 13 junctions while gantries were located in all 13” at ECIL crossroads, Sainikpuri junction, St. John's junction and Balanagar replacing existing lights without any authorisation from GHMC.

Incidentally, the GHMC has also charged Stanpower of “grossly violating” the agreement on Integrated Traffic Management System (ITMS) pilot project between Jubilee Hills check-post and Greenlands by installing only three signals of the eight and yet installing huge gantries blocking footpaths and close to high-tension lines.

The agency was supposed to install traffic signals and cameras first.

“Ad boards were to be allowed only after successful testing of the project which was to be completed by March 15,” said Mr. Rao.

However, Stanpower's Timothy Prakash claimed that no notices were received for removing gantries other than at two places.

At the same time, he admitted that “it was decided after discussions that all other nine structures would be taken out temporarily and put back after regularisation by the GHMC in 15 to 20 days”.

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