This was the first connector that made it to the drawing board when town-planners were looking to bridge the gap between the city proper and the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass. But 14 families — with “significant political clout” — ensured that every other ‘connector’ was commissioned before the path was cleared for this one.
Things, however, may change for the Prince Anwar Shah Road-Bypass Connector soon. The government has managed to convince the 14 families — the principal stumbling blocks to the completion of the city’s ‘first’ connector with the Bypass — to move out.
“We have started work on the stretch between the Prince Anwar Shah Road-Gariahat Road (South) crossing and Garfa Main Road further east,” said chairman of Calcutta Municipal Corporation’s Borough XII and councillor of ward 105 Sunil Chakraborty on Sunday. The stretch should be open to traffic by the end of the monsoon, he added.
On the roadmap, this means the commissioning of the eighth connector between the Bypass and the city proper, after Ultadanga Main Road, Maniktala Main Road, Beleghata Main Road, Park Circus, Santoshpur and Garia. What this means on the ground is a “drastic reduction” in travel time from the south of the city to east Calcutta, Salt Lake and the airport, say officials.
Several hundred families used to live on the stretch south of Dhakuria and north of Jadavpur. Most of them shifted out following the government notification to acquire land for the project, but 14-odd families continued to occupy a 400-metre stretch near Shahidnagar.
Things were finally “sorted out” very recently, with 13 of the 14 families agreeing to the government-mooted rate of compensation. The money was paid by the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to the department in charge of land acquisition which, in turn, handed it over to the families, officials said.
“The money the families have been given is in accordance with the market-value of land in the area,” a senior CMDA official said. “But one family has refused to take it and has gone to court,” he added, while clarifying it, too, had moved out, clearing the path for the completion of the first phase of the project, between Prince Anwar Shah Road and Garfa.
The second phase — between Garfa and the interiors of Kalikapur — has been slowed down further by “some complications”, say CMDA official. But work on the third phase, between Kalikapur and the Bypass, has started, they added.
For thousands who shuttle between Salt Lake and east Calcutta on one hand and Tollygunge, Jadavpur, Jodhpur Park and Golf Green on the other, the days of taking the circuitous route via Santoshpur or Kasba will be gone once the new road finally takes shape, they add.
But this connector was meant to be the first of the eight, state urban development department officials admitted, adding that it was envisaged as early as 1977. “The chain of events that have led this Bypass connector to be pushed back to the eighth show urban planning in the city and the votebank in poor light,” observed one.