The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Puja scars on roads

Post-Puja, as the city slips back into its routine, commuters and pedestrians find the going tougher as the roads still bear the scars of the five-day festivities.

While most of the structures and barricades have been dismantled, they have left in their wake yawning holes that were dug to put up the barricades.

With the rains refusing to beat a retreat, usually 15cm in diameter and 1.5 ft deep, have worsened the condition of many roads. They have turned deathtraps for two-wheelers and potential hazards for pedestrians

Where: SC Mullick Road, at the southern end of the Dhakuria flyover.

What we saw: A 30-metre stretch beyond the flyover is pock-marked with such holes. Though there is no designated stop here, many commuters wait here to take a Garia-bound auto in the evening.

Pedestrianspeak: “The situation can be dangerous as vehicles come speeding down from Dhakuria bridge. If a motorcyclist suddenly swerves to avoid a hole, a vehicle might hit it from behind,” said Rai Dutta, a local resident.

“Also, a pedestrian can be seriously injured if he steps into one of these holes,” she added.

Organisertalk: Babubagan Sarbojonin Durga puja, a crowd-puller, is a two-minute walk away. “Till last year, we were not sure whose duty it was to repair the holes. It seems it is the responsibility of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) but we will definitely fill the holes with stone chips or sand as a temporary measure. We will also ensure that the civic authorities fill up the holes soon,” said Suman Chatterjee, the president of the Babubagan puja.

Where: The stretch between Bosepukur Sitala Mandir Durgotsab and Bosepukur Talbagan Sarbojonin on the EM Bypass-Rashbehari connector.

What we saw: Almost a 100-metre stretch near these two well-known pujas are dotted with holes dug up for barricading. This is one of the busiest roads in the city with many Bypass-bound vehicles plying.

Pedestrianspeak: “Such a busy road should be repaired immediately. Are the authorities waiting for an accident to happen?,” asked Samadrita Sengupta, a resident of Bakultala.

Organisertalk: “These holes get filled up on their own with time,” said Uttam Ghosh, a member of the Sitala Mandir puja.

Where: Near Eastern Command headquarters on Red Road

What we saw: Right in front of Fort William, near JK Island, three large holes had been dug to make barricades for the Id-Ul-Fitr namaz on September 21.

Pedestrianspeak: “Vehicles speed along Red Road. And the holes are at a point where one has to swerve left in front of the island. If anyone fails to notice them beforehand and suddenly swerves to avoid them at the last moment, it can lead to a fatal accident,” said a Aniket Bhandari, a motorcycist.

Where: Dharam Das Row, leading to 66 Palli Sarbojonin Durgotsab on Nepal Bhattacharjee Street near Rashbehari Avenue.

What we saw: Large holes along a 100-metre stretch on this lane off Rashbehari Avenue have not been filled up.

Pedestrianspeak: “Though there is not much traffic in the lane, this being a residential area, kids often play here. The holes are large enough to cause serious injury to a child,” said Asit Ray, who visits the area often.

Organisertalk: “We had filled up the holes with sand but rain washed it away. We will fill up and cement the holes in a few days,” promised Rajat Sengupta, the working president of the 66 Palli puja.

CMCspeak: “It is our duty to fill up the holes. But we request the puja committees to temporarily fill them up to avoid accidents. It takes a month to fill up all the holes,” said Faiyaz Ahmed Khan, the mayoral council (information).

Policespeak: “We would always want the holes to be filled up as soon as the bamboo poles are removed. But that seldom happens,” said an officer-in-charge of a traffic guard.

Subhajoy Roy

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