The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Road-fix club for Salt Lake

The state government and the Salt Lake municipality have prepared an action plan to spruce up the roads in the township, which have been in an advanced state of disrepair for some time. A coordinating committee has been formed, comprising officials and engineers from the Salt Lake municipality, CMDA and the urban development department, to oversee the repairs.

The government had assured aggrieved residents of the township that the major roads would be fixed before the Pujas. A funds crunch had pushed back the long-overdue operation. Now, work is expected to start next week, and is scheduled for completion within a month.

Chairman of Salt Lake’s CPM-led municipality Dilip Gupta said it had not been possible for the local civic body to execute thorough repairs as the entire project would require around Rs 2 crore. “At least 50 km of road will have to be repaired immediately. Alone, the municipality has the funds to take up only patchwork, at best,” said Gupta.

State urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya held a meeting last week with Gupta and CMDA officials to prepare the action plan.

It was decided that major roads, including First and Second Avenues and the roads leading to the busy office areas will be repaired by the CMDA, while the municipality will undertake repairs of the connecting roads.

Apart from the opposition Trinamul Congress, almost all block and ward committees have hit the roads demanding repairs. The Left Front government has also expressed dissatisfaction over the failure on the part of the Salt Lake authorities to conduct prompt repairs.

There are few roads left in the township without potholes. Most have gaping craters, which have recently been filled up with brick pieces, causing clouds of red dust to rise in the wake of every vehicle. All the major arteries require urgent repairs. The condition of the inner roads has also deteriorated.

“We have never witnessed worse conditions in the past 10 years,” complained a senior resident of the township, which once used to boast of smooth surfaces. “It is true that we have not taken up repairs due to the paucity of funds. But we were also reluctant to start work during the monsoon. Now, we are taking steps to restore the road conditions,’’ said minister Bhattacharya.

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