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Dust gobbles file, blood flows
- Two years on, traffic management blueprint remains on paper

In the winter of 2005, while kicking off the 150-year celebrations of Calcutta Police at Nandan, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had stressed the need to tackle traffic chaos.

To please the boss, the department drew up a blueprint to recast the traffic management system in town.

Metro takes stock of some proposals and their predicament, 21 months on...

Recast penal provisions

Plan: Traffic penalties under different sections of the Motor Vehicles Act to be raised to act as a deterrent. In most cases, the proposed hike was at least five times the existing amount.

Responsibility: The transport department.

Status report: No change. Rash bus drivers still need to pay just Rs 400 for “excessive speeding”.

Officialspeak: “It is not for the transport department alone to act on this proposal. Since there has to be a parity in the fine structure across the country, we have forwarded the proposal to the Union government,” says transport secretary Sumantra Chowdhury.

Rationalise bus routes

Plan: Given the number of private buses plying on one route, at least 12 routes need to be rationalised. This would curb competition and racing among drivers.

Responsibility: Offices of the different regional transport authorities, under the department of transport, to take stock of the number of buses plying and act accordingly.

Status report: No action.

Copspeak: “Despite our proposal, there has been no effort to rationalise the number of buses plying on a specific route,” says Ranvir Kumar, the joint commissioner of police (traffic).

Fix stands for autos

Plan: Clearly marked auto stands to stop the practice of makeshift stands close to crossroads. For example, the Park Circus seven-point crossing is clogged by autos plying on seven routes.

Responsibility: The public vehicles department (PVD).

Status report: No action.

PVDspeak: “The ground reality is that the auto unions decide where the stand will be. There is not much we can do,” admits a senior PVD official.

No new fee-parking lots

Plan: That would leave more room for bus bays and ensure better traffic management.

Responsibility: The Calcutta Municipal Corporation.

Status report: Parking lots are being added, allege the police.

CMCspeak: “The Corporation does not act on its own. The police are taken into confidence when parking lots are added,” counters mayoral council member Faiyaz Ahmed Khan.

Build parallel bridges

Plan: At Beleghata, Maniktala and Narkeldanga Main Road.

Responsibility: CMDA.

Status report: No action.

CMDAspeak: “I am not sure about it; we’ll have to check,” says Debdas Bhattacharya, the chief engineer, traffic and transportation.

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