Hazra Road, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city, presents the perfect setting for a mishap — the tram tracks are broken and stone chips and sand are strewn all along the stretch between Hazra crossing and Kalighat bridge intersection. Minor accidents occur here daily — a motorcyclist and a pedestrian were injured in one of them in front of Metro on Friday.
Protruding tram tracks
A five-ft-long raised strip of tram track juts out in the middle of the stretch. Such metal strips have pierced the undercarriage of two cars — in May 2003 and in July this year.
Amit Dalmiya, 26, was killed in the first mishap while the second driver had a narrow escape.
“The road is dotted with broken pieces of tram tracks after the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) finished its two-month work on the drainage system. The civic employees didn’t bother to clear the debris. Motorcycles regularly skid on the metal and sand,” says tea stall-owner Nandadulal Das.
Sand and stone chips
There are several craters on the carriageway. Metro saw a motorcyclist losing control after falling into one of them and hitting Shiuli Ghosh Dastidar, who was escorting her son Sounak, a Class III student of Nava Nalanda School, to his tuition classes. Dastidar was injured on the left shoulder, while the motorcyclist fell down and bruised his leg. “If there was more traffic on the road, I would have died,” says the man, nursing his right knee. “Sometimes, wheels of passing vehicles send stone chips flying at us,” says a local resident.
Shops and settlers have encroached on large portions of the pavement, forcing pedestrians to walk on the carriageway. With both big and small vehicles making sudden turns to avoid potholes, the stretch is a nightmare for those on foot.
Residents and shopkeepers complain that a dust haze hangs in the air permanently because of the volume of traffic on the road.
Stall-owner Kartik Dutta says: “I often have trouble breathing, after being exposed to dust all day. My spit is dark in colour.”
Copspeak: A policeman posted near Kalidas Patitundi Lane admits that minor mishaps are common on the stretch. “Car-owners and pedestrians complain to us about the road. Its condition cannot improve overnight. The tram tracks are being concretised,” he says.