Calcutta, Aug. 24: A police plan to enforce one-way traffic on a road off Rashbehari Connector to ease the rush because of two schools had to be called off within hours of its implementation under pressure from a Trinamul councillor who claimed people in the area would be inconvenienced.
The backtracking under political pressure after an elaborate plan shows why policing has been rendered ineffective in many parts of Calcutta.
The one-way plan, for one hour every morning, had been mooted eight months ago, agreed upon by the schools and explained to parents who ferry their children. But a police officer called up DPS Ruby Park on Thursday — the day the new system was introduced — to say it won’t be followed from Friday any more.
“We received a call from the police on Thursday night, saying the plan had been suspended because of ‘orders from the top’,” a senior school official said.
“The police themselves had approached us in January, having seen how chaotic traffic in the area becomes around the time our school starts. The entire Rashbehari Connector gets affected. The police did an assessment and decided to re-route the morning traffic,” the official added.
But local councillor Susanta Ghosh, also the mayor-in-council member (roads), did not like the plan.
“I was present when the new plan was implemented on Thursday morning. There are at least 1,000 families here who own private vehicles. The one-way plan was creating problems for them,” Ghosh said, referring to a 1-km stretch at Rajdanga Chakraborty Para.
According to the plan, the 1-km stretch behind Gitanjali stadium, parallel to the arterial Rashbehari Connector, was turned into a one-way on Thursday morning between 6.30am and 7.40am to channel vehicles heading to DPS Ruby Park and Garden High School.
All vehicles heading for the two schools now enter through two roads — one that runs along Siemens and another parallel to it. The police wanted them to enter through the parallel road and come out past Siemens.
“I held a meeting with the police on Thursday and asked them to withdraw the plan, which they did immediately,” Ghosh said.
Deputy commissioner (traffic) Dilip Adak said the plan had been put on hold for an indefinite period following “complaints from residents”.
A senior officer wondered why the police would not try a plan to test whether it worked or not.
City police traffic department chief Supratim Sarkar declined comment.
School sources said the police reverted to the old system on Friday morning, creating confusion.
“The police tried to go back to the old system and kept saying ‘ager moto, ager moto (like before)’. But most parents were following the new route outlined in the notice given to them on the police’s direction,” a school source said.