Lake Town protests traffic curbs

Police have shut link roads and intersections to manage Sreebhumi Durga Puja’s crowds on VIP Road

By Our Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 17.10.18, 12:01 AM
  • Updated 17.10.18, 1:09 PM
  • a min read
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The traffic crawl on either flank of VIP Road near Sreebhumi on Saptami evening. Pradip Sanyal

Residents of Lake Town and its surrounding localities on Tuesday jointly petitioned police to reopen the link roads and intersections along VIP Road that have been blocked to manage the massive crowds visiting the Sreebhumi Sporting Club Puja.

More that 50 people turned up at Lake Town police station to submit the petition, citing “enormous difficulties” in commuting from that part of the city to anywhere either by private or public transport.

“Residents of Lake Town have suffered the most. I had to visit a hospital near Phoolbagan on the EM Bypass and I struggled to reach VIP Road because the link road from Lake Town has been closed to traffic since Friday,” a resident of the area said. “I had to go through Bangur and Baguiati to reach VIP Road. A 20-minute ride stretched to more than an hour.”

The foot overbridge at Lake Town has been shut as well, adding to the congestion. “The public works department has given us in writing that the structure cannot bear the weight of a Puja crowd as large as this. There were 800 people on an average on the foot overbridge on Panchami. It was shaking. We have closed all the foot overbridges across VIP Road for safety reasons,” said Amit Javalgi, the deputy commissioner of police, Bidhannagar.

One of the signatories to the petition said that closing the link between Lake Town and VIP Road had caused more problems than it had solved, an allegation that Javalgi contested. “The Sreebhumi and Golaghata underpasses on VIP Road are open to pedestrian traffic and the Bangur underpass is for people crossing over to the Ultadanga-bound flank,” he said.