The National Highyways Authority of India (NHAI) has announced that it will be putting up huge billboards of Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh, the PM, all across its highways, and we will be seeing them every 25 kilometres.
Somewhere below the massive visual will be displayed information of the road projects, relevant to that area. The Times of India mentions that each billboard would cost of 10 lakhs, and the Economic times, taking a more economical view, puts the cost at 4 lakhs.
Changunabai, who stays along the Mumbai Nasik highway, wanted to know if they would be installing a tap (with flowing water) just below the billboards. She and her daughters currently daily cover distances up to 3-5 kilometres to fill water for their daily use. Her neighbor, Kausalya is often out trying to collect firewood as fuel, and must travel further and further due to massive removal of forests , for road construction purposes.
Kisanrao Jadhav, the leading farmer urges that the unless the people whose photos grace the billboard come to inaugurate these billboards, nothing will improve in the area. That way, water , electricity connections , and safer local smaller roads will be built on priority basis.
The government, is seized of this matter, and has appointed a committee , which has recommended, that a separate ministry for inaugurations be created, with the minister of Cabinet Rank. It has also been suggested that the Ministers take turns appearing on billboards, so as to save Mrs Gandhi and the PM from continuously travelling for weeks together just to inaugurate Bill Boards.
Studies are on to figure out which minister portraits would distract motorists. However, a recent poll indicates that motorists were only distracted by the likes of Aishwarya Rai and Kareena Kapur.
In the meanwhile, unconfirmed reports indicate that there is a nexus between billboard manufacturers and senior officials of the NHAI.
Now, 1500 billboards are being put up with photos in UP, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Delhi, MP, Chhatisgarh, West Bengal, Orissa, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, J&K, Himachal, Assam and other NE states.
Unconfirmed rumors indicate that Changunabai, Kausalyabai and Kisanrao are being urged to join the BJP, but have refused.
Further news is awaited.