Deadline over, cables stay

Civic engineers prepare preliminary plan for managing cables underground

By Subhajoy Roy in Calcutta
  • Published 13.03.19, 7:23 PM
  • Updated 13.03.19, 7:23 PM
  • 2 mins read
An overhead cable mesh along Harish Mukherjee Road. Picture by Gautam Bose

Mayor Firhad Hakim’s seven-day ultimatum to pull down defunct cables is over but they continue to hang above roads.

Hakim had said Alipore Road and Harish Mukherjee Road will be among the first to be rid of such cables as part of carrying them underground.

But a visit to both roads on Tuesday revealed little had changed since February 28 when Hakim had set the deadline.

Cables were seen lying on the footpath along Alipore Road.

A paan shopowner said the cables had been brought down on Monday but not removed from the area. They lay across the footpath and in at least one place on the road.

In January 2018, a teenager riding a motorbike without a helmet died of head injuries when his two-wheeler got entangled in a heap of cables on the Park Circus bridge.

Mohammad Tausib Alam, a resident of Kasaipara Lane in Beniapukur, was headed to the Park Circus seven-point crossing when the accident occurred.

Harish Mukherjee Road showed no signs of change. A shopowner near the crossing of Sambhunath Pandit Street and Harish Mukherjee Road said he hadn’t seen anyone removing any overhead cables in the past 10 days. “The cables are as they were earlier,” he said.

Cables on Alipore Road and (below)on an adjoining footpath.
Cables on Alipore Road and (below)on an adjoining footpath.
Pictures by Gautam Bose

Mayor Hakim had said the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) would snap defunct cables if they were not removed in seven days.

“Our teams will visit both roads on Wednesday or Thursday to check the situation. We have asked cable operators to accompany us... they can tell us which of the cables hanging overhead are defunct ones,” a civic official said on Tuesday.

A multi-system operator accompanied a CMC team on an inspection of Alipore Road on Tuesday.

Metro had reported about overhead cables and the risk they pose on August 31, 2017.

Cable television, broadband and even trams contribute to overhead wires. And often it is difficult to distinguish one line from another.

Civic engineers have prepared a preliminary plan for managing cables underground. An engineer said the civic body was thinking of making three tunnels.

“Two of the tunnels will have a diameter of 8ft each. Another will have a diameter of 6ft,” the engineer said.

“The two tunnels will be kept for TV and Internet cables and the other for electricity cables. There will be pits every 7m for men to go down the tunnels for repairs.”

The civic body has surveyed the footpaths along Harish Mukherjee Road and found underground utilities run about 5ft under the surface.