LAHORE - Pakistan Horticulture Authority (PHA) is planning to convert The Mall road into "free board zone" by removing all the advertisement billboards erected on either side of the road to restore its original beauty, The Nation learnt here on Monday. The Punjab government issued strict directives to PHA to ensure restoration of original look of the city by removing all the illegal and unnecessary billboards on all major roads within the limits of LDA as well as CDGL. The government also ordered PHA to launch crackdown in this regard forthwith. Following the instructions, the authority concerned launched a full-fledged drive to remove those hoardings and billboards threatened to fall down due to their week structure. A large number of such hoardings have been removed on the main roads including Main Boulevard road, Jail road and Ferozepur road. PHA Direction General Rao Iftikhar told The Nation Monday that the authority was strictly working on the lines of policy devised by the Punjab government. He said that billboards were being removed due to expiry of contracts. He said that sites of these boards would be auctioned in coming days. PHA spokesman revealed that contracts of all billboards had been expired on June 30. He said that PHA awarded had two-month grace period for the removal of publicity boards. Since the grace period had also finished on September 1, and owners of the billboards did not bother to avail the facility. The authority warned of launching crackdown saying if billboards were not removed within 15 days, it will not be responsible for the damages if incurred in the process of removing billboards. It may be recalled that outdoor advertiser association staged a protest demonstration against the removal of billboards in front of PHA on Jail Road. They chanted slogan against the PHA policy and termed it injustice. Due to demonstration, Jail Road remained blocked for some time. Police was called to clamp down the situation which dispersed the protestors peacefully. According to the survey report prepared for the Chief Minister's Review Committee, the total number of outdoor advertising signage regulated by PHA is almost 1,100 which will be auctioned. The sources said the Punjab Cabinet decided that the chairman of chief minister's task force on Lahore would formulate a comprehensive policy on publicity boards and summaries for the installation of publicity boards and hoardings. The sources further said that spectrum of crackdown would be widened by removing billboards and hoardings erected near the heritage sites and monuments. The city has about 50 ancient buildings including the Lahore Fort, Badshahi Masjid, Shalamar Gardens, Lahore Museum and Jahangir's Tomb.