The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Thunder cloud over roads
Repairs too tardy for cop comfort

'Today's pain' ' as the billboards put up by the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners (HRBC) scream ' is proving too costly for 'tomorrow's gain'. At least, on Calcutta roads.

With road repair work dragging beyond the deadline and monsoon clouds just 48 hours away, the traffic police have shot off a missive to the HRBC brass, asking them to prod the contractors into completing the work 'as early as possible'.

The cops have stressed in the letter that unless the repairs are completed soon, the poor condition of the roads will worsen, throwing traffic totally out of gear.

According to police, the repair work that hasn't been taken up may need to be postponed to avoid chaos on the roads. The traffic cops have also discussed the matter with the transport department.

'Since the repairs were badly needed, we had agreed to allow the work to be taken up on several important roads. Now that the deadlines are not being met, we are in a tricky situation. We have voiced our concern in clear terms to the authorities concerned,' said Jawed Shamim, deputy commissioner of police (traffic).

Troubling the police the most are the unfinished tram track concretisation projects.

The deadline for the tram tracks on Maniktala Main Road to be concretised is June 15. Given the tardy progress, completion of work on time can be ruled out, said the cops.

Complicating matters, the stretch near the Kankurgachhi crossing has been dug up for the same work and the road in front of Bidhannagar railway station is about to be excavated.

'The Kankurgachhi and Ultadanga intersections are vital, since they absorb a lot of traffic pressure. If work is not completed on time, traffic will be a complete mess once the rains start,' said an officer of Shyambazar Traffic Guard.

The situation is just as bad further south. Mahatma Gandhi Road and Kalakar Street are only two of the arteries where concretisation work well past deadline is acting as a bottleneck. The daily traffic travails prompted the cops to convene an emergency meeting with private bus operators a few days ago.

'We told the operators that it would at least be a month before two-way traffic movement along Mahatma Gandhi Road is possible. Therefore, the buses will have to follow a circuitous route to and from Howrah station,' said an officer of Jorabagan Traffic Guard.

Buses heading south from Howrah will now have to take Brabourne Road, New CIT Road and cross Colootola, before heading south from Sealdah.

But don't expect a smooth commute from then on, because after digging up the stretch in front of NRS Medical College for tram track concretisation, the contractors are figuring out how to carry out the work. At least, that's what they've told the police.

Further south along AJC Bose Road, preparations are on to set up median dividers between Moulali and Nonapukur tram depot.

On the right, tram track concretisation from Moulali to Wellington, on Lenin Sarani, has just started.

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