The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Callous chaos on the road
- Dodge a bus to stay alive

Four lives have been lost in seven days on the city streets. All under the wheels of speeding buses. With no move being made to slam the brakes on this menace — police and politicians prefer to look away — Metro visits a few more calamity crossroads.

Howrah Bridge/Station

What we saw: A pedestrian’s nightmare, thanks to racing buses and utter lack of traffic management.

Rash wheels: WB-25-A 3339; WB-04 C 6911; WBU 1775

Publicspeak: “I think this is the most dangerous part of the city for pedestrians. Just look at those buses racing out of the terminus,” says daily passenger Kathakali Roy.

Mayo Road

What we saw: Buses racing and swerving down the stretch barely slow down to drop off or pick up passengers.

Rash wheels: WMH/5726

Publicspeak: “We are often forced to dodge between competing buses and then hop on to a moving bus; otherwise, we will have to wait here for ages. It is so risky and yet, police look the other way,” says Shankha Roy, waiting for a bus to get to Howrah station.

Chowringhee Road-Park Street

What we saw: The buses rush to grab the best berth as soon as the lights turn green from the Maidan end. Hordes of people are waiting outside Park Street Metro station. Every bus gets close to the waiting passengers, but with noses sticking out at an angle so that they can speed off first.

Rash wheels: WBU 8111; WBA 5411

Publicspeak: “Only if a VIP’s car is hit or blocked by one of the buses at this key intersection will some action be taken. The common man just does not matter,” cries Sujata Konar, waiting helplessly at the Park Street crossing.

Dargah Road

What we saw: The roundabout and the speeding buses make a killer combination on a stretch that houses a hospital, a college and two schools.

Rash wheels: WBR 4806; WBS 1132

Publicspeak: “So many people have died and been injured in accidents on this spot but the authorities just refuse to act. Why is no traffic sergeant posted here'” demands Dargah Road resident Akbar Ali.

Dhakuria bridge/ bus stop

What Metro reader Sangeeta Basu wrote: The overpass is of no use, as it’s so high. You climb 15 stairs and get to a landing and then you climb 20 more stairs. The climb up is tough, especially for the elderly, and on the way down, the stairs are treacherous.

As a pedestrian, waiting for the green light at the intersection is of no use, as no one follows the rules.

No one seems to be bothered about the police presence here as they do not enforce traffic rules. The buses do what they like. Unless some of these bus drivers are stopped and taught a lesson in public, nothing will improve...

No one has the guts to do anything about all this. Wake up, Calcutta, before it’s too late.

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