A bridge across Bagjola canal that would connect Gouranganagar to Action Area 1 of New Town is ready for inauguration.
“There was a demand for a motorable connectivity for a long time. So far local people had to use a ramshackle bamboo bridge which is risky and over which vehicles cannot cross. This bridge, once it is opened, will be of great benefit to people of the area,” said Hidco managing director Debashis Sen.
The suspension bridge, 37m long and 5.5m wide, was one year in the making. Modelled after an existing bridge over the same canal near the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre, it has been beautifully illuminated. “We will not allow heavy motor vehicles to pass over it. But small cars, bikes and pedestrians can surely use it,” he added.
The bridge has proved to be a life-changer for residents of Gauranganagar on the other side of the canal, especially the 100-plus families of the highrise complex PS Ixora.
“There is no end to our joy. This bridge is a result of years of petitions and requests. We have already started using it. This will mean a reduction of the extra 6-7km that we had to travel to reach the New Town bus stand, which is barely 1.5km away. The narrow lane along the canal to Jatragachhi would also be congested, especially in the evenings. Then we had to cross the flyover and get access to the Major Arterial Road only at Narkelbagan. Reaching a hospital in Salt Lake will be so much faster now as we can just cross the bridge and reach BA Block,” said Parimal Ghosh, secretary of PS Ixora Association of Apartment Owners.
Another problem was the refusal of app cab drivers to come to the complex. “They would cancel the ride as soon as they saw the detour they would have to make to reach us on the map,” added Ghosh.
The bamboo bridge maintained by private individuals that people now use.Picture by Sudeshna Banerjee
But not everyone is happy. The bridge has robbed four men of their livelihood. “We are maintaining the bamboo bridge since 1997, ever since it was built with some funds from the Hatiara gram panchayat. It was a vital connection across the canal for students of Jatragachhi Pranabananda High School. We used to charge 5p from pedestrians and 10p for cyclists. The charge is now Re 1 and Rs 2 respectively. Every other month, a bamboo pole or two needs replacements. They cost Rs 27 apiece. The money we raise supports our families too. Now we are jobless,” said Parimal Ojha, a local resident.
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