Low-hanging cables on some of Kolkata’s roads have to be moved up so they do not block the way of double-decker buses that will ferry Durga Puja tourists, the state tourism department has said in a letter to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).
The letter once again highlighted the hurdles posed by omnipresent overhead cables to any attempt at showcasing the city. Besides being a safety hazard, they make Kolkata look ugly.
Soon after receiving the letter, the KMC called up the cable operators and passed on a list of roads where the low-hanging cables have to be move up to a certain height.
The cables belong to internet service providers, telecom companies and local cable operators. The owners of the cables have been told by the KMC to keep them at least 19 feet above the road.
Some of the places where the cables have to be moved up include a stretch of AJC Bose Road in front of Police Training School (PTS), opposite the Prinsep Ghat Circular railway station, opposite the AG Bengal building near the high court and in front of Currency Building.
The Telegraph found thick bunches of cables criss-crossing the intersections near Currency Building and near the AG Bengal building. Similar bunches also hang close to the road in front of the Bankshall court.
“We received a letter from the tourism department saying cables have to be pushed upwards in some locations in the city. We have already informed the service providers to take necessary action,” said Sandip Ranjan Bakshi, a mayoral council member of the KMC in charge of the lighting department.
Bakshi is responsible for managing overhead cables in Kolkata.
NEAR BANKSHALL COURT
NEAR CURRENCY BUILDING | Overhead wires in parts of the city on Wednesday.Pictures by Gautam Bose
“The tourism department will organise special tours with international visitors during the Puja on double-decker buses. The department has named some of the points on the route where the cables could be an obstacle for such buses,” said Bakshi.
An official of the tourism department said double-decker buses would be used for Durga Puja tours for the first time in Kolkata.
“We were told by the KMC officials that the cables should hang at least 19 feet above the road level. We have already started work but the progress is slow because of intermittent rain,” said Tapash Das, a joint secretary of the All Bengal Cable TV and Broadband Operators United Forum.
This newspaper has reported several times how the mesh of cables makes the city ugly and dangerous for Kolkatans. In some places, the cables hang very close to the ground and pedestrians walking on a footpath often find it difficult to avoid low-hanging cables.
In 2018, a motorcylist died when one of the wheels of the two-wheeler got enmeshed in a bunch of cables.
The KMC undertook a pilot project on Harish Mukherjee Road and removed most overhead cables, which now run through ducts built under footpaths. But the cables belonging to the police and the KMC have not been removed yet.
The project is yet to be implemented on other roads in Kolkata.