The part of the tram track that reared up on Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road on Sunday morning. (Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya)
A portion of a tram track along Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road came loose from the ground and reared up on Sunday morning, injuring a couple on a bike and triggering a two-hour blockade by residents who wanted the stretch to be repaired immediately.
According to witnesses, a couple fell off the bike in front of the Peace Haven mortuary around 10.45am because the track under the tyres moved.
Both sustained injuries on their hands and legs but left the place before police arrived.
Residents stopped vehicular movement on the road for two hours and straightened the bent track from 11am.
At the same spot last month, a part of the track that had reared up had tripped and injured a young woman and her one-year-old son, leading to protests by 150 residents.
“Senior officials of Calcutta Tram Company had then promised to repair the tracks as soon as possible but nothing was done. Several accidents have happened in the 40 days since then because of the condition of the stretch,” said Haji Ashfaq, who owns a glass shop in the area. The police said at least 100 people blocked the road and uprooted at least 15 metres of the damaged track.
“We have been demanding for six years that the tram tracks be concreted on the road but the authorities have only been giving us false assurances,” said Pervez Shiekh, another resident.
Tram company sources said the tracks on the 1km stretch on Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road had not been repaired for several years.
After last month’s protest, the authorities said the plan for concreting and renovating the tracks had been cleared by the state government. On Sunday, an official said neither the plan was ready nor had the permissions needed from the traffic department taken. Even the tenders had not been floated.
“Tracks cannot be repaired just like that. It takes days to properly plan the process and get permission to stop traffic. We are working on the project and will hopefully finish the renovation work before the monsoon. But it is not possible to specify when we would start the renovation,” said Shantilal Jain, managing director, CTC.