| KILLER CRATERS: The state of the tram tracks on RG Kar Road. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Debasish Bag is an exception. He has not been forgotten, like most victims of road mishaps. Six days have passed since Bag was run over on RG Kar Road near RG Kar Hospital, but all those who use the road are forced to step into the death trap every day. For, nothing has been done to remove it.
On the morning of November 28, the wheels of Bag’s cycle got stuck in tram tracks being relaid on the upward slope of the bridge that descends in front of the RG Kar Hospital emergency entrance. As he struggled to pull out the cycle, a truck crushed him from behind. It could have happened to anyone using the road.
The Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) began relaying the tram tracks before the Puja, but is still some way from completing the work. The tracks jut out most dangerously near the emergency entrance to the hospital.
“We have been trying to impress upon the CTC authorities that it is imperative to finish relaying the tram tracks. Somehow, they are not listening. The work has been progressing at a snail’s pace and the result is for everyone to see. We could have avoided the death,” asserts Jawed Shamim, deputy commissioner (traffic).
Even the fatal mishap has not speeded up the work, which was stalled during the festive season. The spot where Bag got stuck remains as it was.
In front of the Railway Recruitment Board, the tram tracks that have been either uprooted or are waiting to be relaid have been kept on the road, posing a threat to life and limbs.
The tracks run through the centre of the narrow stretch between the Shyambazar five-point crossing and Belgachhia, past RG Kar Hospital. The width of the road is cramped further by vendors on both sides.
“The CTC officials have even dumped stone chips and sand on the approach to the bridge. The tram tracks that have been kept on the road are long and rusty. Plus, there are craters on the road and a Calcutta Municipal Corporation vat occupies a portion of the thoroughfare. No one seems to be bothered,” complains Abhay Ranjan Das, who runs a stall near the approach to the bridge.
The traffic police deployed on the stretch are a harried lot. “We have to ensure that the traffic keeps moving, but at the same time, there cannot be a repeat of the accident that killed Bag. On top of that, there are emergency patients being rushed to RG Kar Hospital. Hawkers selling their wares on the road are another problem. We are lucky there aren’t more accidents,” says a traffic sergeant.