|TUESDAY, June 24, 2.15 pm
A Reliance Infocomm metal strip stands ominously tall on Bhowanipore’s Justice Chandra Madhab Road. Cars speed by, veering to avoid the death trap. Picture by Pradip Sanyal. METRO seeks an explanation from the men who matter
10.30 pm. May 12. Camac Street. Amit Dalmia, 26, drives over a four-foot-long metal strip, raised dangerously at an incline of about 10 inches from the road. The two-inch wide metal strip, 10 mm thick, pierces the car’s undercarriage and, rising sharply with the impact, tears through Amit’s clothes before ripping his lungs and heart. By the time he is extricated from the car and rushed to SSKM Hospital, he is dead.
“I don't want anyone dying like this for the callousness of a company,” Amit’s father Santosh Dalmia had cried, blaming Reliance Infocomm that had laid the metal strip covering its optic-fibre cables and the civic authorities who had failed to notice the death trap.
I don’t know of the Reliance cable-cover that is allegedly lying exposed on Justice Chandra Madhab Road. Nor have I been informed by my officials of any recurrence, anywhere in the city, of the situation that led to the mishap that killed a young man a few weeks ago. But I was given a list of places, where repair jobs were needed on cables or the road under which they were buried, by Calcutta Police some weeks ago for inquiry and follow-up action. We sent our teams out to all the places mentioned on that list and our officials have submitted a detailed report to me. According to their findings, either the Calcutta Municipal Corporation or some other agency was responsible for the protrusions.
— Reliance Infocomm official
I have received complaints about some more Reliance cables jutting out of road surfaces. But this specific complaint is news to me. I cannot wait to see the Metro picture on Wednesday morning, but I have already decided to send a team of engineers to the spot to check the situation for themselves. Their report will be taken to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, if necessary. No businessman can be allowed to endanger public life for his own profit. The utter disregard they appear to have for public safety speaks of an extremely callous approach on their part. How many lives will Reliance cables and their covers take, before the men who run the show wake up to what they are doing'
— Subrata Mukherjee
Ensuring safety on roads in situations like this is, primarily, the responsibility of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation. I will definitely inform the CMC higher-ups of the development on Justice Chandra Madhab Road, so that they can ask the agency concerned to take corrective measures. But I do not think I need to talk to Reliance directly. I think they should be responsible for their acts and not expect other agencies to follow up on what they do. It is Reliance’s moral responsibility to ensure that no one is hurt as a consequence of its activities on public property. I am going to send a team of officials to the area to conduct an inquiry, most probably on Wednesday.
— Deputy commissioner (traffic) M.K. Singh