The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Puja makeover for Salt Lake

Come Pujas and the Salt Lake authorities plan a facelift for the township, by repairing its damaged roads and water supply lines. “The main roads, as well as the internal roads, will be repaired. Also, the water supply lines will be cleaned and repaired before the Pujas,” promised Dilip Gupta, chairman of Bidhannagar municipality, on Tuesday.

The road repairs have been taken up jointly by the municipality, the state urban development (UD) department and the CMDA. The municipality will repair Crossroad I and the First and Second Avenues. The UD department will repair Broadway, connecting FD Park with the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, and the road in front of Hyatt Regency.

The CMDA will take up a project, worth more than a crore, for road repairs in Sectors I, II and III. According to officials, work is likely to start before the Pujas.

However, the Opposition Trinamul Congress has raised questions regarding the timing of the work. “With the rains continuing, the repairs will just wash away. The money will be wasted,” said Anupam Dutta, leader of the Opposition in the municipality. “The authorities should have taken the initiative much earlier,” he felt.

The main thoroughfares, as well as the internal roads, of Salt Lake are in need of repairs for some time now. The last time they were repaired was Pujas 2001.

Tapan Talukdar, municipality council chairman, said halogen lights will be installed in every ward. Officials pegged the total cost at Rs 65,000.

Most of the internal roads in Salt Lake lie in darkness. Repeated reminders from residents fall on deaf ears. The lack of proper road illumination has led to a sharp spurt in crime in the township. “We have written several times to the authorities, urging them to fix the streetlights, but they paid no heed,” claimed Manash Sen Chowdhury, of AL Block Residents’ Association.

Despite the promises, not many are convinced that the repairs will be ready by the Pujas. “We hear these promises every year,” said Somen Biswas, a resident of AA block. “At the end of the day, they remain unfulfilled.”

Residents also believe that work should have started much earlier. Had repairs started simultaneously with the damage, Salt Lake’s roads would not be in such a sorry pass.

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