Roads in a neighbourhood off EM Bypass, near Mukundapur, where a project to reduce waterlogging failed to end before the arrival of the monsoon, are in a dilapidated condition.
The roads are either waterlogged or muddy. It has been so for several months and despite requests from residents, a temporary walkway along the edge of a road, which could have reduced the commuting pain of residents, has not been built.
Nitai Nagar, a neighbourhood to the west of the Bypass, is among the worst affected because of the delayed completion of the drainage project in the Mukundapur area.
An open manhole to drain out water from the stretch in Nitai Nagar on Monday. The manhole was not cordoned off, putting commuters at risk.
Many have tripped on a road and got injured, said a resident. The road was dug up to lay underground drainage lines as part of the project to reduce waterlogging in Mukundapur and its surrounding areas.
An official of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) said the work to lay the drainage pipes ended only a month ago, much after the onset of the monsoon. “We have started the road restoration, but rain has slowed down the work,” said the official.
The project to lay underground drainage lines along 6.7km of roads and build a drainage pumping station started in June 2021 and was to be over in 18 months.
The Kolkata Environmental Improvement Investment Programme (KEIIP), a department of the CMC, is executing the project. The KEIIP, which is building underground drainage networks in many parts of the city, is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
A snake on the dug-up stretch in Nitai Nagar on Monday. A resident said snakes roam the streets and enter stores and houses
Waterlogging-prone areas like Mukundapur, Chhitkalikapur, Daspara, Vivekananda Pally and Ajoynagar are among the pockets that will benefit once the newly built underground drainage network in that part of the city becomes functional.
CMC officials said that while underground drainage lines have been laid, the
pumping station will only be ready by November or December.
“The project got delayed as the construction of the pumping station could only start in January 2022. The land where the pumping station is being built had a pond that has been filled. We had to dig a compensatory pond before we could start the construction,” said the CMC official.
Unnoti Sarkar, a resident of Nitai Nagar who also runs a hardware store in the neighbourhood, said the road in front of her store has been lying broken and battered for nearly six months.
“No cycle or two-wheeler can use the road. Even walking along the road is fraught with risks. So many people have fallen and injured themselves. We had requested the men involved in the drainage work to build a temporary walkway made of brick along the edge of the road or keep a portion of the road clear so that people can walk safely. But they refused,” said the woman.
She said hundreds of people living in the area use the road every day on their way to the local market or work.
“We were expecting that the road would be restored before the Puja, but the pace of work doesn’t suggest so. Work completely stopped four or five days ago,” she said.
Snakes roam the streets and enter stores and houses, she added.
“We will restore the road soon. We will build a road of bricks and the bituminous layer will be laid only after the monsoon recedes,” the CMC official said.