The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Roads, ravaged and recent
- Showers wash away surface asphalt, Puja deadline for smooth passage a distant dream

The downpour has done the dirty again, sending civic and traffic managers scurrying for cover.

With asphalt layers washed away, craters appearing where there was road surface till Saturday night and the wet roads not even ready for basic repairs, meeting the Puja deadline of smooth passage seems Mission Impossible.

“After Sunday’s downpour, at least seven to eight craters have suddenly appeared on Maniktala Main Road, particularly near the railway underpass. Apart from slowing down traffic, these potholes pose a serious threat to small vehicles,” said a senior officer of Shyambazar Traffic Guard.

“We have called the borough engineer and now it is up to the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) to carry out the repair work.”

And the patchwork that doesn’t last will be up against the elements for the next 36 hours at least, warns the weather office.

J.V.M. Naidu, deputy director-general at the Regional Meteorological Centre, Alipore, said on Monday: “The cyclonic circulation (anti-clockwise movement of air) that had formed over north Bay of Bengal off Orissa and West Bengal coast, intensified on Sunday evening into a well-marked low pressure. Under its influence, Calcutta and the rest of south Bengal districts are expected to receive more showers with heavy rainfall in isolated areas.”

Caught between a delayed monsoon and an early Puja, the roads hardly have any recovery tine, especially with repairs barely lasting till the next sharp shower.

“We have drawn up a list of roads including the stretches that need immediate repairs and have written to the agencies concerned to let us know about the bottlenecks impeding repairs on time,” said Jawed Shamim, deputy commissioner (traffic).

“Some of the arterial roads are in a mess and the first thing to take a beating is traffic. Unless the repairs are carried out on an emergency basis, things will get even more messy,” he warned.

Other sorry stretches under the scanner include Strand Road (North), the one leading to the old Mint building, the intersection of Strand Road and Mahatma Gandhi Road, the Strand Road to Kalakar Street link.

“Even Brabourne Road and the entire approach to the flyover from Howrah bridge has become impossible to negotiate, but no repair work is being carried out,” complained an officer of the Traffic Guard.

Circular Garden Reach Road, pivotal to the city’s port area, now resembles a village road, complete with craters and mini-pools, observed an officer of Vidyasagar Setu Traffic Guard.

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