Staff Reporter

Coimbatore: The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation’s practice of letting out the space on rear side of buses for advertisements to generate revenue has become a major bone of contention as far as road safety is concerned.

Secretary of Coimbatore Consumer Cause (CCC), K. Kathirmathiyon in a memorandum to the Government had pointed out that renting the space is violation of the provisions of Rule 343 and 368 of Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicle Rules and Rule 100 (ii) of Central Motor Vehicle Rules.Mr. Kathirmathiyon pointed out that these advertisements are more dangerous to road users than the other types of advertisements/hoardings on the roadside. Such advertisement attracts mostly the attention of the drivers of the vehicles that are following these buses on the road.

The display of such advertisements are in violation of the provisions in the Central and State Motor Vehicle Rules. Already, the Supreme Court had ordered removal of such advertisements. The advertisements are attractive and catchy with pictures of cinema actors denying any scope for transmission of light. From the rear side, earlier the public were able to identify the route numbers and also the routes through which the buses operate. Now because of advertisements such information is not visible in most of the buses and one has to rush to the front to identify the buses. It clearly shows that these transport corporations are neither bothered about the road safety nor public convenience, but only revenue, in violation of rules. Of late, private bus operators have also started painting advertisements on the rear windscreen.

During the road safety- cum-traffic advisory committee meeting, the District Collector, Coimbatore, had said that he had not given approval for display of any advertisement on any of the buses.

Since more advertisements started coming up on buses, the CCC sought the basis on which such advertisements were being permitted. TNSTC replied that as per the Transport Secretary’s letter it was displaying the advertisements without the approval of the Collector. In his letter dated September 14, 2007, the Transport Secretary had instructed them to give advertisement contracts for the highest bidders. The letter was purely an internal one and it was not even a Government Order. Even if it was a Government Order it is a fact that no GO can be issued in violation of rules. Further, the motor vehicle rules are enforced only by the Home Department and a mere communication by the head of a major operator cannot ignore the rules.

The State-owned TNSTC is only a major operator of buses and it definitely needs to follow the motor vehicle rules.