Calcutta, Oct. 8: From tomorrow, personnel manning the toll plaza on Vidyasagar Setu will walk up to your car to collect the levy but you would be better advised to keep change to avoid waiting, transport minister Madan Mitra has said.
Mitra today instructed the private agency running the Vidyasagar Setu toll plaza to collect the levy manually to ensure queues move faster.
“Manual collection of toll would reduce the waiting time as the officials manning the counters would hand out coupons after the fee is paid. We are asking the passengers to be ready with the exact fare. Time is lost arranging for change,” Mitra said.
During the peak hours, if the queue grows longer, the staff would go up to cars, collect the toll and give the signal for the vehicles to be allowed to pass.
“By this method, a large number of vehicles waiting in the queue can be allowed to pass,” the minister said.
The transport minister this afternoon visited the toll plaza, which has seen a rise in the number of vehicles crossing the Hooghly after chief minister Mamata Banerjee moved to her new office at Howrah’s Mandirtala, to assess the ground situation.
Mitra had to step in after Mamata made a sudden stop at the toll plaza yesterday while returning to Calcutta. The chief minister was unhappy at seeing unmanned counters and long queue of vehicles.
Transport department sources said the chief minister instructed the transport minister to immediately speak to the agency running the toll plaza.
Today, transport department officials spent over an hour at the plaza, conducting a detailed study of traffic movement along the Setu.
“We conducted a study of the number of vehicles using the Setu, the number and type of vehicles passing through each lane and whether they were going towards Calcutta or Howrah. The study report will be utilised to improve services further,” Mitra said.
A clean-up drive was launched to wipe off stains, mostly from gutkha.
Lift wait continues
Employees had to wait between 15 and 30 minutes for lifts at Nabanna, the temporary secretariat at Howrah’s Mandirtala
A senior PWD official said that as the goods lifts could not be converted into passenger ones overnight, the problem would continue for some more days.
“I suggest that employees come a bit earlier till we modify the lifts,” the official said.
Another official said: “We have decided to augment the speed of the lifts by the end of this month. We will raise the speed of the lifts by 0.5m a second.” This will reduce the travel time to the 15th floor to two minutes from four minutes, he added.
All five lifts operated this morning.