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Ramani Chatterjee Road or Street?

New Kolkata Municipal Corporation signboard bears changed name; ‘Error, will correct,’ says councillor

Subhajoy Roy | Published 25.06.23, 09:07 AM
A road marker in Ballygunge reads Ramani Chatterjee Street on Saturday. The road has for decades been known to residents as Ramani Chatterjee Road.

A road marker in Ballygunge reads Ramani Chatterjee Street on Saturday. The road has for decades been known to residents as Ramani Chatterjee Road.

Sanat Kr Sinha

Is it a street or is it a road? The Kolkata Municipal Corporation, the custodian of the city’s roads, is not sure.

For decades, residents of a pocket in Ballygunge have known the road cutting through their neighbourhood as Ramani Chatterjee Road. Their property tax bills also bear that name.


A fresh road marker put up by the civic body calls it Ramani Chatterjee Street.

In a city where Dover Lane and Dover Road are around 2km from each other, the difference between a Street and a Road may not be a mere quibble. Between Dover Lane and Dover Road, there is Dover Terrace and Dover Park.

The road marker bearing the wrong name highlights that there are no fixed and foolproof processes that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (CMC) follows while putting up boards with names of its streets and places.

The name of the place on the bus shelter outside the Jodhpur Park Drainage Pumping Station calls it “Jodhur Drainage Pumping Station”. The logos of the CMC and Biswa Bangla are present next to the name.

A resident of central Kolkata said all houses in the area spell Prinsep Street as Princep Street. The road marker of the CMC here stands broken and no one has corrected the spelling.

In 2014, the civic body published a book titled List of Streets in the City of Kolkata.

Some civic officials said ideally, all road markers should use the name mentioned in this book. They also admitted that it was rarely followed.

In reality, the road markers are prepared by engineers in boroughs in consultation with local councillors. There is no system to cross-check with any single authority whether the name being put on the marker was correct or not.

“The engineers and local councillors usually decide the location where road markers will be put up. They are responsible for the spellings. Some of them may consult the book, some may not,” said a senior CMC official.

Debashis Kumar, councillor of Ward 86 that covers Ramani Chatterjee Road, told Metro he did not suggest any new road marker on Ramani Chatterjee Road.

He added that he was sure it was “road” and not “street”.

“This is an error on the part of the CMC. I will tell officials to remove this board and put a new one with the correct name,” said Kumar, a councillor for 23 years who was born in neighbouring Panditiya where he has always lived.

Civic officials also admitted that often contractors engaged in preparing the road markers make an error and the engineers and officials in charge of the area overlook it or do not pay enough attention to see if the correct name was written or not.

Minibuses that display routes in bold on their bodies have cannibalised spellings and names for many years. On them, Triangular Park is often “Tangula Park” and “Mintu Park” means the park named after Lord Minto.

The CMC has enlisted itself in that dubious bracket.

The error can make things difficult for many, especially a person new to the place.

There are many instances of at least two roads named after the same person in Kolkata. The only way to distinguish between them is what follows after the name of the person — street or road or a lane or an avenue. Wrongly putting one in the place of another can take a person to the wrong location.

Kolkata has a road named Rani Rashmoni Road, near Janbazar. There is another road by the name Rani Rashmoni Avenue, which is in Esplanade. An interchange of Road and Avenue can lead a person to the wrong destination.

Amherst Street is now known as Raja Rammohan Roy Sarani. There is Raja Rammohan Roy Road in Behala.

There is Grant Street and Grant Lane, both in central Kolkata.

“If the CMC has a road marker with the wrong name, it gets replicated everywhere. The police also use the name written on the road markers. Then it gets into our official records, too,” said a senior officer of Kolkata Police’s traffic department.

In an age when everyone follows Internet maps, a Kasba resident expressed fears that the maps, too, would pick up the mistakes and perpetuate them.

Last updated on 25.06.23, 09:07 AM

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