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Online meets to lodge complaints in New Town

Video conferences are being organised whereby residents can join a live session from home and speak to the NKDA’s team of engineers

Sudeshna Banerjee, Brinda Sarkar | Published 01.07.22, 10:29 AM
Street 169 in BF Block was waterlogged last Friday

Street 169 in BF Block was waterlogged last Friday

Sourced by the correspondent

The New Town Kolkata Development Agency (NKDA) has taken the technology route to communicate directly with residents and listen to their grievances.

Video conferences are being organised whereby residents can join a live session from home and speak to the NKDA’s team of engineers.

“It’s a forum to discuss problems that residents may have which we are hearing out and trying to address. We have a 24x7 helpline where about 100 calls come daily. Since inception four years ago, about 18,000 calls have been handled by the team. But many residents do not like to speak to call centres. So this forum is for them,” said NKDA chairman Debashis Sen.

A team of engineers will hear the residents out. “The problems are mostly expected to deal with water, drainage, lights and roads issues. So the technical officers are best suited to attend to those,” Sen said.

NKDA chief engineer Pradip Roy, who has got the additional designation of chief public grievance officer, will preside over these virtual meetings.

“Our target is to hold such meetings fortnightly or at least monthly,” Sen said.

Search for solutions

The first such meeting took place last Friday. Here are some of the issues that were raised:

Demand to trim

There were many complaints related to the trimming of grass and trees. Sumit Roy of Street 634 in Action Area 2C said empty NKDA plots next to his house had bushes growing wild. Rahul Chakraborty of CA Block said their green verge was in similar state. “It also lacks illumination and the lanes leading out of it are in bad shape and get water-logged.”

Prathama Mukherjee Das of Street 568 wanted shady trees to be planted while a resident of AC Block wanted fruit trees that attracted birds. Chief engineer Roy assured her that 10,000 trees are planted every monsoon and their suggestions would be kept in mind.

Asim Roy of CD Block said he could not walk on footpaths these days without the stooping branches of trees hitting his head. “Electric boxes get in the way too and we have to get off the kerb on to the main road to avoid running into them,” he said.

Roy replied that the electricity board had been approached to relocate the electric boxes earlier but that they had said that was not an option.

Bad roads

Anjana Majumdar of BF Block complained of broken pavements. “I fell and fractured my right hand this January,” she said.

BF Block’s Swapan Kumar Ghosh wanted the cycle lane on the road between Snehodiya and Swapno Bhor removed. “The street attracts lots of cars for parking, especially when there are events at Swapno Bhor. Others visit the shops and ATM counter around and all this narrows the usable width of the road. The cycle lane simply adds to the chaos,” he said.

Encroachments

Ranen Chowdhury of AC Block spoke about the unauthorised shops outside gate 4 of the water treatment plant. “It has hawkers as well as security guards relieving themselves next to a facility that supplies water to our homes. You must build a public toilet there urgently,” he said.

Similar complaints poured in about Street 269, where bus drivers were accused of defecating in a plot that has become a jungle. “Not to mention the plastic and other rubbish that hawkers there throw, clogging our drains,” said an AC Block resident, speaking about the stretch next to Rail Vihar.

Another common complaint was about construction debris occupying road space. “You’re building a community hall on the street across my house but sand and stone chips are always spread across the road. I’m scared that soon the gully pits will be filled up with these and we shall bear the brunt during the monsoon,” said Debasis Sarkar of AC Block.

Flooded streets

Many panicked at how their streets had got water-logged in the showers that very day. “People had started moving their cars to higher ground on different streets. We don’t want a rerun of last year’s flooding,” said BB Block resident N.G. Goswami. Two members of Action Area 1B Welfare Association pointed out how 20 minutes of rain caused water to seep into a caretaker’s room. Street 64 also witnessed knee-high water in AD Block, it was alleged.

Ranen Chowdhury of AC Block noted that flooding in New Town had begun just three years ago. “I believe this is because construction debris is getting poured into drains, where it is solidifies over time and narrows the space for rainwater to flow. You need to remove this,” he argued.

Last updated on 01.07.22, 10:29 AM
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