It’s the residents of Naktala and Rathtala, in Tollygunge, versus the Metro Railway, as the latter goes about its piling work on the Tolly’s Nullah bed. Though work on extending Metro services beyond Tollygune was progressing on schedule, senior officials on Tuesday expressed concern over residents resisting pile-cap work on the 8.7-km stretch between Tollygunge and Garia.
The narrow canal bed has prevented the Metro authorities from providing a clear channel for the water and waste flowing out of the 36 drains into the bed. This, say officials, appears to have angered residents, prompting them to stage demonstrations and obstruct work.
Making it more difficult for the water to flow out is the earth dug up from the middle of the canal’s bed, which finds its way to both sides of the canal. Metro Railway had initially suggested that metal sheets be placed along the stretch from where earth was being dug up, so that the water from Tollygunge homes did not fill the bed again. The extra financial burden, however, made contractors reject the proposal. Residents did not like the idea, either. “If the water and waste are not allowed to flow out, it will flow back into our homes,” a Naktala resident said, adding that that was exactly what was happening now.
Residents of Naktala, Rathtala, Kudghat, Bansdroni and Lakshminarayan Colony complain that other than the problem of the waste flowing back into their homes, cracks have developed in many of the buildings, giving them sleepless nights. K.L. Banerjee, a banker who lives in Bansdroni, said: “My building quakes whenever they (the Metro workers) are at work and the crack in the wall is growing.”
There is a nursing home in the vicinity as well, where patients say they have an even bigger problem than their healthy neighbours.