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Buses return to Hemanta Setu in Tallah on Chaturthi

Around 6am, the first fleet of private buses made their journey towards Shyambazar through the bridge and the commuters were pleasantly surprised by the Chaturthi gift

Kinsuk Basu | Published 30.09.22, 07:06 AM
A bus on the Tallah bridge on Thursday afternoon.

A bus on the Tallah bridge on Thursday afternoon.

Bishwarup Dutta 

Buses of at least 20 routes and mini buses of four routes started plying through the reconstructed Tallah bridge on Thursday morning, marking an end to over two years of agonising wait for thousands of commuters who had to make lengthy detours.

The police arrangements for allowing buses on the bridge were completed by the night before. Around 6am, the first fleet of private buses made their journey towards Shyambazar through the bridge and the commuters were pleasantly surprised by the Chaturthi gift.

The bridge, a key link between the city and northern suburbs, was inaugurated on Thursday and was opened to small vehicles on Saturday morning. 

The earlier bridge, which engineers had said might collapse any day, was pulled down in 2020. After the inauguration, senior engineers of the public works department (PWD) said they wanted to check how the structure was performing before allowing heavy vehicles, including buses, on it.

“Since the lanes are wider than the old Tallah bridge — the width is 20 metres, compared with 13 metres of the previous one — vehicles will be able to move faster. There is no problem with the new structure’s weight-bearing ability,” said a senior PWD engineer.

With the bridge now open to buses, commuters on several routes are saving at least 45 minutes of travel time. Earlier, they would have to endure traffic congestions along the way from BT Road to Belgachhia and along RG Kar Road to reach Shyambazar.

“It was such a relief to travel down the new Tallah bridge,” said Satyajit Ghosh, a Baranagar resident who takes a private bus to reach his office on Jatindra Mohan Avenue, near the Shyambazar five-point intersection. 

“The rush-hour madness in the morning and the evening on RG Kar Road was insufferable.”For bus owners, a shorter road to the Shyambazar five-point intersection meant going back to at least five round trips a day, from the existing two or three, and saving on the costly fuel for each trip. “I will be able to save at least 5 litres of diesel daily,” said the owner of a bus.

 “Earlier, the driver and the conductor of a bus were required to hand Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,300 to the owner at the end of the day. After the old Tallah bridge was shut down and the buses were made to do long detours,that amount came down to Rs 300 to Rs 400,” said Pradip Narayan Bose of the West Bengal Bus and Minibus Owners Association.

“This decision to allow buses over the newly constructed bridge is a win-win for bus owners and passengers.”

Several bus owners rued how some of their colleagues had to withdraw from the trade unable to bear the mounting losses with the rising price of fuel and fewer trips. “Once there were 17 buses on route 30A (Dum Dum-Esplanade). Now, only seven are operational,” said Abhijit Saha, a bus owner. 

“The owners of many buses on other routes, too, suffered losses and had to leave the business.”

Last updated on 30.09.22, 07:06 AM
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