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Funds hitch in road repair

Calcutta, April 16: The state Public Works Department is worried about the pre-monsoon repair of a number of roads on Calcutta’s outskirts and in the districts because the finance department is not releasing about Rs 150 crore loaned from the Hudco for the purpose.

A senior official of the department said some of the roads in districts like North 24-Parganas and Burdwan are in very bad shape and need immediate repair. One of them is the Tarun Sengupta Sarani — an arterial road in Dum Dum — used daily by PWD minister Amar Chowdhury. The condition of this road is so dismal that Chowdhury is said to have confided to his close aides that travelling on it is a nightmare.

Sources said CPM leaders in many districts have contacted the PWD minister and requested him to begin repairs immediately. But repairs cannot be carried out due to lack of funds. Roads that need to be renovated include the Patipukur-Rajarhat-Lauhati Road in North 24-Parganas and parts of the G.T. Road in Burdwan.

“We are helpless about the repairs,” Chowdhury said at Writers’ Buildings today. “If the finance department does not approve our projects and does not supply the funds, what can we do'” he asked. Officials said the PWD minister has approached finance minister Asim Dasgupta and chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on the matter.

Sources in the department said apart from these major roads, a part of B.T. Road also needs to be repaired before the monsoon. “Before every monsoon, we take up major repair of roads in Calcutta’s periphery and the districts. So, we need funds from the finance department,” said an official.

“The Hudco loan was taken in December but we are yet to receive it. If we cannot undertake the repairs soon, there will be major problems. The monsoon will arrive by the first week of June and we have a lot of work to do,” he added.

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