The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Road repair panel flashes 'fatal' alert

Calcutta, June 16: A committee set up by the high court to check the condition of city roads has rapped the government and the civic authorities for failing to repair them before the rainy season and warned that it might lead to 'fatal accidents any moment'.

Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) and Calcutta Tram Company (CTC), the five-member panel said, had failed to comply with the court order regarding speedy renovation of city roads. They should 'gear up the speed of work' and not let it 'go on like this', the committee has observed.

In its second interim report, submitted before the court yesterday, it alleged that the CMC had failed completely to ensure the prompt removal of rainwater from the roads.

The panel of five Calcutta High Court advocates ' Milan Bhattacharya, Alok Kumar Ghosh, Idris Ali, Debasish Kar Gupta and Debjani Sengupta ' also sought immediate repair of several roads across the city.

The list of 15 key city streets that are in precarious condition includes SP Mukherjee Road (from Hazra to Rashbehari crossing), Biren Shashmal Road (from Rash Behari crossing to Prince Anwar Shah Road) and the stretch from the high court to Mominpur via Kidderpore and Ekbalpur.

The advocates have also sought an order of the court asking the responsible authorities to complete the repair work at the earliest.

'With regard to the question of water-logging in different parts of Calcutta, the concerned engineer of the CMC was requested to furnish an action plan of proper outlet,' the report states.

The committee, however, expressed some satisfaction over the job done by the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) and the public works department (PWD). The two have completed some repair work of the roads under their control, but the corporation had failed on all counts, the members said.

On a petition filed by Manwara Begum ' a housewife living on Eliot Road ' a division bench of the high court had constituted the committee and asked it to file regular reports on the progress of the road restoration work in the city and its adjoining areas.

'The motive of the court behind setting up such a committee was to keep constant pressure on the road-repairing agencies to get on with the job. It is true that some streets have been repaired but in most cases, only patchwork has been done. As a result, after two or three heavy showers, the condition of the roads have become bad again,' said Sreemoyee Mitra, the advocate appearing for Manwara.

Mitra said she would bring the matter before the court during the next hearing of the case filed by her. 'I will submit pictures showing bad condition of the city roads,' she said.

When contacted, mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, who took office early this month, said he did not know about the committee's report. 'Nonetheless, we have undertaken several programmes to repair roads promptly,' he said.

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