Thousands of commuters had to wade through knee-deep dirty water as clogged drains flooded the Howrah station subway on Wednesday morning.
Those who chose to avoid the unpleasant trek had to walk an extra kilometre to reach bus stands on their way to work. In their rush to reach office on time, many crossed the busy approach road to Bankim Setu and climbed over the railing separating the two lanes. “I had to cross the approach road to the Bankim Setu, risking my life, as buses and taxis sped past. Then I scaled the railing separating the lanes to reach the Calcutta bus stand,” said Pradip Sengupta, a resident of Bally.
Senior railway officials, however, claimed prompt action. “We immediately contacted senior CMDA officials as the subway and its adjoining areas fall under the jurisdiction of CMDA,” said Anirban Dutta, the divisional railway manager, Howrah.
“The subway was closed to passengers from 5am to 11.30am as railway and CMDA engineers were busy clearing the drains. If the passengers were allowed into the subway then, work would have hampered,” Dutta said.
The ordeal did not end even after the subway was opened to passengers as a pool of ankle-deep water remained near the ticket counter in the subway.
While passengers stood in queue as their feet got dirty, a few others made the most of the situation, offering to buy the tickets in exchange of a fee.
“I paid Rs 5 to a woman for buying me a ticket. It was impossible to get my feet wet in the drain water,” said Jayanti Das, a resident of Hind Motor, who was returning home after visiting a relative in Naktala.