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Anger at raised tram tracks

Residents uprooted a portion of the tram tracks on Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road to protest the poor condition of the tracks, because of which a woman and her one-year-old son had a close shave on Monday.

Around 9.30am, Firdaus Begum, 30, with son Farhan in her arms, tripped on a broken and raised tram track in front of Peace Haven mortuary and fell on the road.

Farhan flew off her arms and his head struck a steel track. Witnesses said the boy fell in front of a moving car. Its driver, however, managed to apply the brakes in time.

The boy suffered bruises on his cheeks and forehead. Firdaus’ left knee has swollen and she suffered cuts in her right leg.

“The boy would have been killed had the driver not stopped in time,” said Mehtab Hussain, who runs a stationery shop. “The tram tracks are broken at several places and regularly cause accidents. We have complained to police several times but nothing has been done. Hence, we chose to uproot the dangerous parts and blocked the road.”

The roadblock, for over two hours, disrupted traffic along the busy one-way road in rush hour. It was lifted around 11.30am, after senior officials of the Calcutta Tramways Corporation promised to repair the tracks.

Nawab Khan, a resident of the area, said: “This is the third accident in two days. Earlier this morning, an old man had tripped on the tracks and injured his head. Yesterday, the raised portion had pierced the tyres of a bike. Motorbikes and three-wheelers often skid along the uneven tracks.”

The incident highlighted the sorry state of the tram tracks along the 1km stretch of Rafi Ahmed Kidwai road between the Park Street and SN Banerjee road crossings. The tracks have not been repaired in many years, said a CTC source.

“Whenever a portion of the tracks breaks or juts out, we just weld it,” the source added.

“We will concrete the base of the tram track on the road by August. We will soon start replacing the old tram lines with new ones and then begin concreting the base,” said Shantilal jain, the managing director of CTC.