The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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After yen round, time for pounds
- Four-in-one pack for smoother traffic flow
What and Where
• Multi-directional flyover at Ultadanga
• Vivekananda Road fly-over (connecting Girish Park with Brabourne Road flyover near Howrah bridge)
• Overbridge at Baguiati and Keshtopur (to cross VIP Road)
• Overbridge near airport (connecting VIP Road with Jessore Road)

Why: To ease traffic congestion in north Calcutta
When: A final decision will be taken after a third round of meetings by the end of this month

The Japanese-funded flyover projects in Calcutta are nearing completion and it’s time for the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government to hop, skip and jump continents to look for its next partner in infrastructure progress.

On Monday, Writers’ Buildings officials confirmed that a clutch of major construction companies from the UK is tipped to handle projects worth about Rs 800 crore for traffic infrastructure development in and around Calcutta.

“We have placed some project proposals before the British team and they have evinced interest in taking those up,” said chief secretary Ashok Gupta.

“They are scheduled to get back to us by the end of this month and we will take the final decision after receiving their plans and discussing the financial implications,’’ added Gupta.

The government is eyeing a first-phase package of Rs 400 crore involving four projects — two flyovers and two over-bridges.

Gupta’s observations come in the wake of a recent meeting between chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and a British delegation, comprising representatives of construction companies, government officials, transport experts and engineers.

Transport minister Subhas Chakraborty, too, was present in the meeting at Writers’ Buildings.

Chief secretary Gupta said the city is in urgent need of flyovers, underpasses and modern modes of transport to improve vehicular movement.

“The problems of traffic congestion cannot be solved with any small project. We have to think of something big. As the financial capability of the government is limited, we are looking for foreign funds. We are also getting responses from foreign funding agencies and different companies,’’ he added.

The scout team from the UK was in Calcutta last week. “They came and met our officers and engineers and visited the proposed project sites,” confirmed Chakraborty.

“Before returning to the UK, they assured us they would be back within this month, along with a final proposal. If things go according to plan, we hope the projects will help improve the traffic scenario to a large extent,’’ Chakraborty said.

Chief traffic and transportation engineer B.K. Sadhu said the four-in-one package had been drafted to facilitate traffic flow to Howrah station and the airport.

“The projects are mainly aimed at improving traffic flow in the northern parts of the city. North Calcutta is the most congested area of the city and it also leads to the airport. So, we hope to give traffic in this zone a major push,’’ said Sadhu.

Out of the four proposals, the major project is the multi-directional flyover at Ultadanga, at the expense of the existing pedestrian overbridge at the chaotic six-point crossing.

According to officials, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is not willing to take up any other transport infrastructure project now, as it focuses on the Rs 4,000-crore East-West Metro project, linking Rajarhat with Ramrajatala.

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