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Civic eye on private pitch for roads

Wiser after the death of Calcutta Police sub-inspector Arun Majumdar, whose motorcycle fell into a pothole on CIT Road on the night of July 23, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has undertaken a pre-Puja drive to fill up potholes on major city roads on a war footing.

“We have undertaken a Rs 5- crore project to fill up potholes on major city roads and get them refurbished before the Pujas,” announced mayoral council member Anup Chatterjee, in charge of the city’s roads. “Majumdar’s tragic death is definitely an eye-opener for us,” he admitted.

Chatterjee said on Friday that he would also write to a group of big industrial houses, urging them to take over the repair and maintenance work of those city roads whose condition is “really bad”. “We cannot undertake the repairs on our own due to paucity of funds. The industrial houses will be allowed to put up billboards for advertisements once the roads are restored by them,” he added.

The mayoral council member disclosed that letters are being despatched to Reliance, ITC, the Birla group and Sahara. “Each of the industrial houses will be assigned the job of refurbishing one full road, once the deal is finalised,” Chatterjee said.

Sajal Basu, officer on special duty in charge of city roads, elaborated that the department concerned has already drawn up a list of the damaged roads. The list includes Amherst Street, CR Avenue, Lenin Sarani, SN Banerjee Road, CIT Road at Phoolbagan, Belvedere Road and a portion of Southern Avenue. “We are working on a strategy to carry on the repair job round-the-clock without disrupting the normal flow of traffic. Our priority is to get the roads refurbished before the Pujas,” Basu added.

Civic officials revealed that CMC commissioner Debasish Som had also written to the Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC), asking it to get the damaged tram tracks repaired to facilitate a smoother flow of traffic. CTC general manager S.N. Paul confirmed having received the letter.

Pal said the CTC had already submitted a Rs 42-crore proposal to the transport department for repair of its 68-km route across the city. “Work has started in some areas where the tram tracks are heavily damaged and need immediate repair,” he said.

The tram track between the seven-point crossing at Park Circus and the Moulali crossing is being concretised as part of the overhaul of old tracks of the century-old transport system, the CTC general manager added.

Deputy commissioner of police (traffic) M.K. Singh said he had conducted a joint survey with civic officials to identify the damaged roads across the city. Confirming that bad roads with potholes are a major reason for the spate of accidents, the deputy commissioner said steps were being taken to pave the way for a smoother flow of traffic.

“We have already initiated stern measures to stem the rot in the force. Now, if the roads are free of potholes, we can expect fewer accidents in the days ahead,” Singh observed.

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