The July 31 deadline for concretisation of tram tracks has come and gone, but with the work far from over, traffic police have been forced to sit up, take notice and frown hard.
In a bid to ease congestion on key stretches, the cops have directed the executing agencies to complete work on some roads as quickly as possible. The approaching Puja and the prospect of concretisation work being taken up on new roads ' with the old ones still out of bounds ' have prompted the move.
The focus is on central Calcutta, where Lenin Sarani, the Mahatma Gandhi (MG) Road stretch off the Sealdah flyover and the stretch between Kalakar Street and Strand Road are not ready.
Following transport minister Subhas Chakraborty's inspection of MG Road on Monday, the traffic police top brass directed the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners (HRBC) and other agencies to ensure that certain roads are opened by next week.
State finance minister Asim Dasgupta is slated to make a tour of the roads early in August.
The cops have asked the HRBC to complete the concretisation of tram tracks on the northern flank of Lenin Sarani till Taltala within the 'next few days'. This must be done before work starts on Nirmal Chunder Street next week, police have asserted.
'With Puja round the corner, our priority is to ensure that the roads are opened to traffic. We have asked the agencies to speed up work, so we can divert traffic along certain roads while the concretisation starts on new stretches,' said deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Jawed Shamim.
According to insiders, Calcutta Tramways Company had expressed reservations about the concretisation work being taken up on Nirmal Chunder Street, but gave in at the insistence of police and puja organisers. 'Last year, the organisers of some big-budget local pujas had expressed disappointment over the fact that they could not invite VVIPs to their pandals owing to the poor condition of the roads,' said a senior traffic police officer.
Police have also urged the HRBC to complete immediately work between NRS Medical College and the Moulali intersection on AJC Bose Road.
'Concretisation work remains to be carried out at the two ends of the stretch. It will be opened immediately after patchwork,' said a senior officer of Sealdah Traffic Guard.
Work on MG Road, between the Sealdah flyover and Purabi cinema, has been stalled, while the stretch between Kalakar Street and Strand Road will be ready in a few days.
Concretisation of tracks between Ultadanga Main Road and CIT Scheme V has been cancelled after an inspection by civic engineers.