Post-crash: 2.5 hours to travel 4.5km

A 4.5km drive from the Taratala crossing to Kidderpore via Hyde Road took around 2.5 hours on Wednesday, after trucks started plying in the port area at noon.

By Debraj Mitra
  • Published 13.09.18

Anita Mondal, wife of Gautam Mondal, breaks down at a programme on Wednesday where the families of the two workers who had died in the Majerhat bridge collapse were given financial help. The event was held by the IHF Foundation at the Keventer’s office in Majerhat. (Right) Foundation chairman Satnam Singh Ahluwalia hands over a cheque to Maya Dey and her younger son Utpal. Maya’s other son Pranab was in the same shed as Gautam and was crushed to death. The two were working at the Joka-Esplanade Metro site in Majerhat. The government has offered Toton, Gautam’s son, and Utpal jobs as civic police volunteers in Calcutta.  Pictures by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya

Hyde Road: A 4.5km drive from the Taratala crossing to Kidderpore via Hyde Road took around 2.5 hours on Wednesday, after trucks started plying in the port area at noon.

During almost the entire journey, from 12.40pm to 3.15pm, the Swift Dzire Metro was travelling in was trapped between trucks in front and behind, which were frequently coming to a halt.

This newspaper had on Tuesday reported that two roads in the port area - Old Goragachha Road and Hoboken Road - were being repaired and made motorable to take some load off Hyde Road, which has been witnessing a spurt in traffic since the collapse of the Majerhat bridge on September 4.

This newspaper's car, which was plying towards Kidderpore down Hyde Road, was not allowed to turn right and enter Old Goragachha Road. At that point, given the volume and flow of traffic, the police were only allowing Hyde Road-bound movement along Old Goragachha Road.

Hyde Road, which leads to Kidderpore from Taratala Road and Karl Marx Sarani, is a hub of warehouses. Several of them are abandoned or hardly in use.

The car crawled for the first 10 minutes before stopping in front of one such godown. After waiting for five minutes, the driver got down.

After a few seconds, he entered the car again to switch off the engine. " Lamba laga hai (it is a long snarl)," he said, before stepping out again.

It was stuffy inside and we decided to follow suit.

The car was stuck behind at least 30 trucks - some of them carrying large containers. Another 20 or so were behind us.

The two-way road was a rugged dustbowl, resembling a fifth-day turning track in India. Vehicles in the Taratala-bound flank were moving slowly.

The 15-minute pause was the first among several that followed.

In the middle of another, the driver of a 12C bus, that plies between Pailan and Howrah, was seen turning his cabin into a makeshift bed. He rested his head against the left window and his feet were on the right.

On the final lap of the journey, towards Karl Marx Sarani, the man seated beside the driver of a mini-truck got frustrated by the snarl and demanded an explanation from a traffic sergeant.

The sergeant, his face covered with a handkerchief, was not flustered. He calmly pulled the man aside and gave him his walkie-talkie. "You seem to know a lot. Why don't you take over?" he said.

"We know you are under a lot of pressure," was what the man could say. Vehicles started crawling again. He lunged back into the truck.