The Salt Lake municipality has taken up schemes for major road repairs before the Pujas. After it spent nearly Rs 2 lakh to repair some of the roads in the township, the Opposition Trinamul Congress has accused the municipality of wasteful expenditure, as a part of these roads are supposed to be maintained by the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA).
However, municipality officials in charge of the repair work said the first crossroad (from PNB island to the eastern drainage canal via Labony), which is maintained by CMDA, is in a bad condition and needed repairs on an emergency basis.
“The road needs immediate repair and it is not important who takes up the repair job,” said a senior engineer of the municipality. CMDA sources said, though over Rs 1 crore was earmarked for the repairs, work could not be started as the funds are yet to arrive.
Salt Lake municipality chairman Dilip Gupta said the repairs would improve the condition of the roads around the Pujas. “If we could have taken up the repairs earlier, the condition of the roads would not have deteriorated like this,” he added.
Gupta said when the repair job was planned, there was a severe shortage of bitumen. “Finally, when bitumen was available, the rains came, and work was delayed further,” he added.
Civic body officials maintained that the Rs 1 crore kept aside for repair of Salt Lake roads in this year’s civic budget is "inadequate".
The total length of the township’s roads is around 250 km. Of this, the state urban development department maintains the Broadway (the wide road running from FD block to EM Bypass) while the third avenue (the road from DD Block to Narkelbagan) and the first crossroad are maintained by CMDA.
The municipality’s move to start repair work on the first crossroad has drawn criticism from the Opposition. “It is strange that instead of repairing its own roads, the municipality is interested in repairing the road which is supposed to be maintained by CMDA,” said Sabyasachi Dutta, Trinamul Congress councillor. “The authorities have unnecessarily spent Rs 2 lakh to lay bricks for patchwork. It would have been wiser to spend the amount on other roads of the township,” Dutta said.
Leader of the Opposition in the municipality Anupam Dutta accused the authorities of doing “a mere patchwork” and not a thorough repair. “Things will get worse after the monsoons,” he said, adding that the Trinamul would launch an agitation this week, demanding "proper repair" of roads.