For an unadulterated pothole experience, drive into any of the service lanes to Calcutta’s biggest private hospitals, office complexes and schools along the EM Bypass.
Urban development minister Firhad Hakim had announced immediate repairs — patchwork to be precise — after a 3.5km bumpy Bypass drive from Parama Island to Ruby hospital on Tuesday afternoon. What he failed to notice was the miserable condition of the service lanes running alongside. The craters and broken patches remained unattended as Metro found out after hitching a ride for a road check on Wednesday.
Barring the road linking Hiland Park with the Ajoynagar crossing, two important service lanes cried for servicing.
Off Ruby & Fortis
An ideal kilometre-long stretch to play “spot the road” or “count the potholes”. The road to three leading hospitals — Fortis, Ruby General and Desun Hospital and Heart Institute — and Calcutta International School resembles a bombed-out zone. Mud on the cracked surface adds to the misery. Pedestrians play hopscotch to avoid pools of stagnant water on several spots while motorists zigzag through the potholes.
Commuters said they have been enduring the nightmare for the past four months. “It becomes hell on rainy days. First, the pockmarked Bypass and then the broken service lane,” said Preetanjali Mitra, a Class IX student of Calcutta International School.
A 20m stretch near the turn towards Fortis Hospital has caved in. The road is perennially waterlogged, putting cars at risk of falling into the ditch. Moreover, a pipeline from a CMC water plant eats up one-third of the narrow lane.
OfficialSpeak: The CMDA, which is in charge of maintaining the Bypass, passed the buck on the CMC. “The CMC’s pipeline project has damaged the road. They are contract-bound to repair the road. But we will step in if they don’t,” a CMDA official said. CMC officials said repairs would start after the pipes were laid.
Off Apollo Gleneagles
After a doctor’s appointment at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, take your car to its “doctor” because the lane leading to the private medical centre is extremely bumpy, ragged and rigged with potholes. Even ambulances have to swerve sharply to skirt the holes, some of which have been filled with pieces of brick and stone. The rain-battered 100m stretch in front of the hospital is covered with a layer of crumbling bituminous gravel.
“It killed me when I took my 75-year-old mother for a thighbone surgery at Apollo last week. The drive can knock off a healthy adult’s bones,” said Anirudh Mehra, an insurance company executive.
OfficialSpeak: “Severe shortage of funds has delayed repairs. Patchwork has started and appropriate maintenance will also be done,” a CMDA official said.
Off Hiland Park
A small oasis in a desert of craters, although the 1.5km lane between Hiland Park housing complex and the Ajoynagar crossing has received only partial makeover. A few stretches still have potholes, some more than five inches deep. Residents have filled up some with bricks. After Metro highlighted the neglected road on May 22, CMDA officials repaired the stretch in front of Hiland Park. But the potholes in the road in front of Udita, another private housing colony, remained.
At the Ajoynagar crossing, the road to Santoshpur and Hiland Park has suffered major damage. “The road has certainly improved a bit but the work has been patchy. What’s the point if the entire lane isn’t repaired,” said Dipanjan Basu of Hiland Park.
OfficialSpeak: “The remaining stretches will be repaired in a few weeks,” a CMDA official said.