Road repairs have finally started in Salt Lake. Rather than laying a fresh layer, the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation (BMC) is banking on patchwork repairs as a quick fix solution to level out the potholed stretches in the township and adjoining areas, including Teghoria, Kestopur, Baguiati, Chinar Park and parts of Rajarhat.
On Sunday, The Telegraph spotted teams of labourers filling craters with rubble and other construction waste in front of the Salt Lake stadium’s gate number 1 before laying a mixture of bitumen and stone chips.
Repairs have also started in other pockets of the township, including residential blocks. A stretch that leads to AJ Block is among those that have seen patchwork repairs.
This newspaper has reported about the poor condition of roads in the township on multiple occasions.
Deep potholes dot almost every major arterial road as well as connecting lanes and bylanes in residential blocks putting residents and others travelling through them at risk.
A senior official of the BMC’s road repairs department said they had been asked to undertake only patchwork repairs as the civic body has received a small tranche of funds and cannot afford a fullscale repairs.
Several residents told this newspaper that it had been more than five years since thorough repairs of the roads were undertaken in Salt Lake.
“We don’t actually remember the last time the broken surface of a road was scraped and a fresh layer of asphalt laid,” said Debabrata Choudhury, a resident of AD Block. Anita Mondal, deputy mayor of the BMC who is in charge of the road repairs department, said each of the 41 wards have been allocated Rs 10 lakh for “necessary urgent repairs before the Puja”.
“We have tasked the councillors with repairing the worst stretches of roads in their wards. The other roads will be repaired after the Puja,” said Mondal.
Asked why the civic body did not repair the roads earlier, Mondal said they had received the funds for the repairs only a few days ago.
According to Mondal, the state finance department has sanctioned Rs 125 crore for maintenance of roads in all 41 wards. Of the sanctioned amount, the BMC has received around Rs 4 crore.
“We had requested the urban development and municipal affairs department for funds for road repairs. We will begin relaying the roads as and when we get a dry spell after Durga Puja,” Mondal said.
Another senior official said they could pay the road contractors their dues once the remaining amount of the sanctioned funds comes.
“Only then can we issue work orders for thorough repairs,” the official said. Among the worst roads outside Salt Lake are Kestopur Main Road and a stretch near Chinar Park that leads to the Haldirams crossing.