The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Safety concerns in Salt Lake
- Township wakes up to spurt in mishaps, draws up check agenda

The Salt Lake unit of the Trinamul Congress on Wednesday lodged a complaint with additional superintendent of police Ajay Nand on the spurt in accidents in the township. On December 8, a private bus rammed into Trinamul Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee’s car near CK Block. She is undergoing treatment. To compound matters, a car carrying Sabyasachi Dutta, Salt Lake’s Trinamul councillor, turned turtle near Nicco Park on Wednesday, injuring him. There was no policeman posted near the accident spot.

The police and the municipal authorities are now planning to introduce road-safety measures in the township. “We will hold meetings with the municipality and conduct a drive against unauthorised parking and rash driving,” said Nand. He claimed that road accidents are on the rise ever since minors took to the wheel. Proper bus stands, speedbreakers and traffic signals are also on the agenda.

According to sources, a drive through the township reveals that basic road facilities are missing. The footpaths are narrow and badly maintained. In places where they are usable, encroachers have set up stalls. Most junctions are unmanned, while unauthorised autorickshaws and their stands mushroom overnight.

“The First Avenue is the most dangerous carriageway, where driving is rash and overtaking is frequent,” said Anupam Dutta, leader of the Opposition in the municipality, who, along with Sukhen Chakraborty (Opposition leader in the Rajarhat-Gopalpur municipality), led the protest group.

On October 8, an accident took place on the same spot where Mamata’s car was hit by a private bus. Renuka Guha, a middle-aged woman, was taking her husband to a doctor when a car hit their rickshaw. Renuka died on the spot, while her husband was severely injured. The car was being driven by a minor, who did not have a valid licence. To date, no action has been taken against him.

“There are hardly any policemen at important junctions in Salt Lake to avert accidents,” Dutta said. He charged the authorities with not taking the problem seriously. “Except for Karunamoyee , the PNB crossing and BD Block, there are no police postings. There are no traffic signals in the township,” he added, demanding police postings on important roads, like the one in front of Suraksha hospital, at Baisakhi, Tanks IV and VIII and near Bharatiya Vidya Mandir.

Tulsi Sinha Ray, another Trinamul councillor, feels badly-lit roads and oversized islands are also responsible for the spurt in accidents. She added that heavy vehicles, including school buses, must be stopped from entering the residential areas. “Footpaths need to be repaired and made free from encroachments,” she added.

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