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Bypass to ease border traffic

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By Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 3.12.05

Calcutta, Dec. 3: The state government has envisaged an 11-kilometre road to ease the flow of traffic towards the Petrapole check-post on the Indo-Bangla border.

The four-lane bypass will run on the left of NH 35 and skirt Bongaon town, about 70 kilometres from Calcutta. It will branch off from the national highway a kilometre before Bongaon town and meet it two kilometres from the Petrapole check-post.

The Petrapole border is the only land port in south Bengal, with about 2,000 trucks passing through this corridor everyday between Bengal and Bangladesh.

Officials said the five-kilometre stretch of NH 35 between Bongaon and Petrapole is highly congested. “The NH 35 which runs right through Bongaon town, is not equipped to handle the 800-odd lorries which ply every day. Since there are too many vehicles, they are unable to enter the town easily. This results in long queues outside Bongaon town throughout the day,” said an official of the public works department’s national highway division.

“We have tabled a Rs 100-crore proposal for the construction of the Bongaon bypass before the Union commerce ministry, which has agreed to provide between Rs 50 and Rs 60 crore for the project. We are now waiting for the final project report from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI),” transport secretary Sumantra Chowdhury said this evening.

Chowdhury said he had sent a reminder to the NHAI yesterday to submit its report soon. The NHAI, which will execute the project, is conducting a survey before it submits the project report.

Since NH 35 has been included in the third phase of the National Highway Development Programme, NHAI is expected to upgrade the remaining portion of this highway into a four-lane road next year, officials said.

The new road will decongest Bongaon town by diverting vehicles near the town before they join a widened NH 35 near the Petrapole border. Officials hope the new road will be able to accommodate at least 200 more vehicles daily.

“Around May this year, the Union commerce ministry agreed to upgrade the Bongaon road right up to the check-post at the Petrapole border. The ministry had stated that it was willing to consider a proposal within Rs 100 crore for the project,” said a PWD official.

Chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb chaired a meeting in June this year to discuss steps to develop the Petrapole check-post. Deb had then asked PWD officials to prepare an estimate for the Bongaon bypass project.