If the traffic wing of the North 24-Parganas police had harboured any hopes of speeding up the pandal-hopping car crawl on VIP Road, by Ashtami night, ground reality had bitten hard enough for them to lose all illusions.
Golaghata, Sreebhumi, Lake Town and Bangur have all added up to one big traffic snarl.
The four days of the Pujas witness a quantum leap in the number of vehicles hitting the city’s solitary thoroughfare to the airport. And there’s not much the police can do, complain the men in uniform.
“We are making all possible efforts to tackle the traffic menace, but we have realised that VIP Road is just not broad enough to handle such a huge volu-me of vehicles,” said P.K. Nandi, traffic inspector of Gouripur traffic guard, under whose jurisdiction the horror zone falls.
The traffic trouble starts at Dum Dum Park and continues right up to Teghoria, police explain. To create some additional space for the extra vehicular load, police had earlier planned to utilise the PWD service road off Golaghata as a parking zone.
But that fell through as the PWD is yet to finish the road and open it to traffic. “Some work, like street-lighting and a little patchwork, is still pending, so we cannot allow the road to be used immediately,” said PWD minister Amar Chowdhury.
“The problem has been compounded as nearly 30 per cent of the stretch between Keshtopur and Joramandir has been fenced off by puja organisers. This has created a huge bottleneck in the area, choking vehicular flow and triggering snarls down VIP Road,” said Manik Ganguly, officer-in-charge of VIP Road traffic.
“We are often caught in a bind over which car to allow — the pandal-hoppers going from one puja off VIP Road to the other, or airport-bound traffic also using the same passage,” admitted Ajay Nand, additional superintendent of police, who is supervising traffic movement in the area.
“During peak pandal-hopping hours, the volume of vehicles crossing the area is so large that a traffic snarl is inevitable. And this paralyses the entire area,” added Nand.
According to police estimates, nearly 50,000 vehicles are traversing the stretch between 6 pm and midnight, while the passageway can at best take the load of around 30,000 vehicles” said a traffic official. “As a result, the space jam can never be resolved, despite all our efforts.”
Police have identified the problem and listed the traffic-stop zones, but have failed to come up with a comprehensive solution, yet.
4Special attention has been paid to Golaghata, Sreebhumi, Lake Town, Bangur. While there has been a slight improvement, the operative word is ‘slight’
4New trouble-spots have sprung up between Dum Dum Park and Joramandir
4Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha and 4 Tank Yubak Brinda are two major draws that are contributing to the massive go-slow on VIP Road
4Keshtopur is another major player in the corridor of chaos, with six pujas in close proximity
4Baguiati is not a cause — there are no major pujas on that stretch of the road — but it suffers the same predicament as the rest of VIP Road
4Joramandir has four pujas close to the main road, leading to similar traffic problems.