Collapse blessing in disguise: Residents

RITES flag-off didn't see action

By Subhankar Chowdhury and Subhajoy Roy in Calcutta
  • Published 10.09.18

Sandbags kept as reinforcement under Aurobindo Setu (top); shops (above) fill up the stretch under the bridge. Pictures by Sanat Kr Sinha

Calcutta: The four bridges where trucks have been banned since Saturday after they were found to be the weakest among the nine under scanner have hardly undergone repairs for years, residents said on Sunday.

The government on Saturday announced that heavy goods vehicles would not be allowed on Tollygunge bridge and Bijon Setu in the south and Belgachhia bridge and Aurobindo Setu in the north.

Metro spoke to residents living in the vicinity of these bridges and most said they considered the Majerhat tragedy a blessing in disguise.

The government has now focused its attention on bridges in urgent need of repairs, they said.

Consulting agency RITES had in April flagged the lowered load-bearing capacity of Aurobindo bridge that connects Ultadanga and Gouribari.

About three months ago, a state agency had relayed the road on the bridge with bitumen, covering the joints of the pillars that had developed craters, Sourav Patra, who stays on the top floor of a four-storey building adjoining the north Calcutta bridge, said.

But rainwater kept percolating down. "It means a mere patchwork won't be enough to take care of the 43-year old bridge," Patra said. "Even the bitumen layer has started coming off."