The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sun to city's rescue

Calcutta, Oct. 8: The sun, more than Subrata, saved the city today.

After pounding Calcutta for three days, the rain stopped and the sun shone, letting water subside in several parts. But more than 30 per cent of the city remained submerged in still waters on Friday evening, exposing the helplessness of the civic machinery.

Mayor Subrata Mukherjee, however, felt that the situation had vastly improved. 'The situation is almost normal,' he said but hastened to share credit with the elements. 'The improvement in the climate and the measures we and different agencies took to drain out the accumulated water helped,' he added.

In the districts, five more people died, taking the rain toll in the state to 14.

Despite the mayor's near-normal certificate, several stretches of the city were crippled due to water-logging. 'There were reports of massive disruptions due to water-logging coming from all over the city,' said Banibrata Basu, joint commissioner of police (traffic). 'Traffic movement was slow throughout on account of damaged roads.'

In the north, the worst-affected areas were Tallah Park, Hospital Road, Ultadanga, Manicktala, Kankurgachi, Rani Harshamukhi Road and Patipukur.

In the south, stagnant water kept residents confined to their houses at Taratala, Swinhoe Lane, Haripada Datta Lane, Prince Gholam Mohammad Shah Road, Thakurpukur, Rabindra Abasan in Behala as well as Pramodnagar, Doctorbagan, Sukanta Palli, Anandanagar, Shubhasnagar, Hemanta Mukherjee Road and Picnic Garden Road.

The mayor said some areas continued to be flooded because they are low-lying. 'It is a topographical problem more than that of drainage, since water accumulates even after a light shower. We can do nothing about that,' he said.

However, he conceded that 'if the process of the gradual replacement of the bituminous roads with mastic asphalt and concrete had taken place over the past 30 years or so, this deplorable situation could have been avoided completely. It would also have meant lower maintenance costs for the CMC.'

The CMC has also cancelled all road repair work before the Pujas. 'Only potholes will be worked upon and an estimated Rs 5.5 crore will be spent,' Mukherjee said.

The rain has affected the pace of construction of flyovers at Salt Lake, Taratala, Park Street, Bondel Gate and Lake Gardens.

'Though the rain has stopped, work could not be resumed since a lot of preventive measures must be put in place. We have to suffer the effect of the rain for at least one week,' public works minister Amar Chowdhury said.

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