Howrah Station Goes For Poster-Free Zone

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Howrah: Hundreds of posters line the walls of Howrah station to draw the attention of some 1.4 million commuters either entering or leaving the city every day.Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) plans to clamp down on this visual pollution and make this key gateway to Kolkata a posterfree zone from Monday.

Commuters and heritage conservationists have been campaigning against this for long. Moreover, use of the station’s walls for advertising instead of hiring billboards on the station premises deprives HMC of an estimated Rs 60 lakh a year in revenue.

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“We have decided to make the Howrah station area a poster-free zone from this week in deferrence to wishes of heritage conservationists and also to plug a major revenue loss. We will issue notices to this effect. We will also impose fines on companies or organisations putting up posters on the station walls,” Howrah mayor Rathin Chakraborty told TOI. The Eastern Railway authorities and Howrah City Police have welcomed this move.

HMC MMIC (hoardings) Goutam Chowdhury said, “Despite several appeals and campaigns by us, companies small and big continue to illegally use Howrah station’s walls as a free advertising zone.” Howrah resident and environmentalist Subhas Dutta said, “Howrah station is a gateway to Kolkata. Advertisers have rendered it visually unpalatable. These posters themselves are a bad advertisement for a city like Kolkata. The drive to remove posters from Howrah station will start on Monday.”

Howrah City Police’s ACP traffic Ashok Nath Chatterjee said, “People often crowd in front of posters to read them. This causes an unnecessary hindrance to smooth pedestrian movement within the station. This move by the HMC will definitely have a positive impact.”