Craters on VIP Road near the Baguiati crossing. Picture by Amit Datta
Craters dot VIP Road between Dum Dum Park and the airport despite police requesting the public works department (PWD) before Puja to urgently repair the stretch.
The cops wrote to the PWD that if the craters on the 4km stretch were not repaired, long traffic snarls would develop frequently on the airport artery. Two weeks later, right before Puja, only patchwork was done on the road.
“We had asked the PWD to repair the road as craters had sprung up near Baguiati crossing, Joramandir, Raghunathpur and at least a dozen other places on VIP Road,” said Shyamal Ghosh, the deputy superintendent (traffic) of North 24-Parganas police.
According to cops, as vehicles are forced to slow down to navigate the deep craters, long queues form behind them.
“During office hours, nearly 3,000 cars cover the stretch every hour. Snarls are frequent because of the craters,” said an officer.
“Traffic cannot be regulated unless the condition of the road is good,” asserted a traffic cop posted on the stretch.
Smooth traffic flow on VIP Road is vital also because snarls have become common on Jessore Road, another important link to the airport, for the construction of a flyover at Nagerbazar.
Commuters and drivers are as annoyed about the condition of VIP Road as the cops.
“How can such large craters remain on such an important road for two months? Many VIPs and ministers too take this road. Don’t they feel the necessity to repair the road?” said Ashok Das, a regular commuter on the stretch.
“The axle of my bus is getting damaged as a result of driving over potholes. If any mishap takes place, passengers and pedestrians blame us,” said Raju Das, a driver on route No. 44, which plies from Baguiati.
A PWD official said the department was aware of the problems caused by the craters.
“Most of the craters have sprung up on the non-mastic portion of the road. We will take up repairs once the rains stop,” said A. Banerjee, a divisional engineer of PWD.
Repairs carried out in the rainy season tend not to last, claimed another PWD official.
“The patchwork before Puja will not last long. But unless the rain stops for at least three days and there is continuous sunshine, the road cannot be repaired properly,” he added.