The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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No cash to fill potholes

Calcutta, Aug. 4: The public works department will not repair roads in the districts before the pujas for the second consecutive year because of lack of funds.

“We will only be able to fill up the potholes. That will take about Rs 4 crore,” PWD minister Amar Chowdhury said at Writers’ Buildings today.

The PWD maintains about 18,000 km of roads in the state and a third of it should be repaired by rotation every year, Chowdhury said. He, however, added that the condition of about 9,000 km of roads constructed with money from Hudco, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) and the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund was good.

PWD officials said the Asian Development Bank would provide about Rs 130 crore to construct 100 km of road between Gajole in Malda and Hili in South Dinajpur. “The construction is expected to be taken up next year. We will carry out only some patchwork repairs so that movement of trucks carrying goods to Bangladesh don’t suffer,” said an official.

The PWD will also take up the Rs 16-crore project of widening BT Road between Dunlop and Talla Bridge in north Calcutta with Hudco funds after the pujas. The project involves removing a large number of encroachers on both sides of BT Road.

Over-congestion, with illegal shops, garages and other encroachment on both sides, lead to severe traffic snarls on the road. Asked whether the government expected resistance from the encroachers, a senior PWD official said: “We have cleared Gariahat of hawkers and the banks of Tolly’s Nullah of illegal settlers. We will also remove the encroachment on BT Road after the pujas.”

PWD officials said it was important to widen BT Road into a six-lane thoroughfare because work on the second Vivekananda Bridge across the Hooghly is expected to begin by December. The Rs 600-crore bridge will be constructed by a consortium, Second Vivekananda Bridge Toll-way Company Limited.

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