The threat of frequent accidents at the Chingrighata crossing in east Kolkata will not reduce till a proposed underpass at the intersection is built and pedestrians and cyclists are forced to use it to cross EM Bypass, police have said. But the underpass is not going to be built soon, said officials aware of its progress.
The detailed project report, which has to be ratified before a project takes off, has not been prepared yet. There is a pedestrian footbridge with escalators and bicycle ramps at the crossing, but quite like the ones across Kolkata, it has few takers. Most cyclists and pedestrians choose to cross EM Bypass darting and zigzagging dangerously through traffic.
Officers from Kolkata police and the Bidhannagar commissionerate have told the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) to expedite the construction of the underpass.
The KMDA owns the land on which the EM Bypass runs, but the maintenance of the road surface is now with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
A senior officer of the Kolkata police told The Telegraph that when the underpass is ready, the police can prevent people from crossing on the road. It will reduce the possibility of accidents manifold. A high volume of vehicles along with many pedestrians and cyclists use the crossing.
Often, problems arise when a pedestrian or a cyclist tries to cut their way through moving traffic, said the officer.
“People have to be more responsible in their behaviour,” he said.
“With an underpass we can restrain pedestrians and cyclists from using the road. It is easier to make pedestrians use an underpass than an overbridge.”
The Bypass also curves at the Chingrighata crossing, which makes things more difficult. Early on Sunday, an app cab rammed into a pillar of the New Garia-Airport Metro viaduct injuring four near the Chingrighata crossing.
A 47-year-old woman, who was crossing the road near Nicco Park on Thursday afternoon, was hit by a speeding Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire.
She succumbed to her injuries on Friday.
The car went on to hit multiple vehicles, injuring eight. The proposal to build an underpass was first mooted in 2019 following an accident in which two people died. But officials had realised that the underpass cannot be built till a proposed pier of the New Garia-Airport Metro, which would come up at the middle of the Chingrighata crossing, is complete.
“The middle of the crossing has to be cordoned off when the pier will be built. The underpass will eat away some of the road on its edge and lead to snarls. It is prudent to build the pier first,” a KMDA official said.
The construction of the pier has not started. The Rail Vikas Nigam Limited will build both the pier and the underpass in coordination with the KMDA, said the KMDA official.