| Point of contention: A metal strip that has snapped free and is jutting out dangerously on Ganesh Chandra Avenue. Picture by Pabitra Das
Even as the city traffic police chief M.K. Singh watched his men play football at Bodyguard Lines on Wednesday, citizens knocked on the doors of the civic authorities, the police and even newspaper offices, to complain about galvanised metal strips laid by Reliance Infocomm jutting out dangerously on several city stretches.
Such a thick metal strip had killed 25-year-old businessman Amit Dalmia when he drove his car over it on Monday night, on Camac Street.
“We don’t want our children and relatives to die like Amit Dalmia. The metal strip is protruding dangerously at New Alipore and a similar accident can occur any moment,’’ said R.C. Gupta, a resident of the area.
Metro received similar complaints from residents of Ballygunge Circular Road, Ganesh Chandra Avenue, Burdwan Road, Diamond Harbour Road, Alipore Road, Council House Street and Camac Street.
Complaints of potholes, irregular road surface, rods and bricks lying unattended and tram tracks in terrible condition also poured in.
A tour of “risky” routes on Wednesday afternoon revealed:
üSix inches of an iron cover protruding a metre above the Alipore Road surface near National Library. Vehicles have to slow down and move round the iron cover. But it can be dangerous in the night, as there are no streetlights in the patch. Police said Calcutta Telephones officials had dug a pit for work on underground cables and put an iron cover over it. Officers said they had brought this to CalTel’s notice, to no avail
»Two manhole covers that have sunk eight inches below the road surface, creating a pothole, right next to CalTel’s iron cover on Alipore Road
»About 300 yards down Alipore Road, metal strips of Reliance Infocomm standing out, as in Camac Street. Further down the road, at the New Road-Alipore Road intersection, another Reliance metal strip is “out of the surface”
»Reliance metal strip breaking free from the road surface on Diamond Harbour Road, near Calcutta Hospital
»Another Reliance metal strip visible on Ballygunge Circular Road, near its intersection with Gurusaday Road
Deputy commissioner Singh blamed all the death traps on agencies like “Calcutta Municipal Corporation, BSNL, Reliance Infocomm and CESC”. They dig up roads for their work but do not restore them properly, he claimed. “Why blame the police'”
Reliance Infocomm, in turn, blamed the CMC and other agencies for tampering with their metal strips.