Putty fright for Chetla bridge, 1 hurt

A large layer of putty peeled off the underbelly of the Chetla bridge that connects the Rashbehari crossing to Chetla on Tuesday afternoon, injuring a woman who sells vegetables on the pavement under the bridge.

By Subhajoy Roy
  • Published 12.09.18
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A portion of the underbelly of the Chetla bridge from where bits of putty fell on Tuesday, injuring Sumitra Malik (above), who was selling vegetables on the pavement under the structure. Picture by 
Pradip Sanyal

Chetla: A large layer of putty peeled off the underbelly of the Chetla bridge that connects the Rashbehari crossing to Chetla on Tuesday afternoon, injuring a woman who sells vegetables on the pavement under the bridge.

The woman suffered bruises on the back of her head and right arm.

Hawkers said they earlier sold their wares on the edge of the road, a little away from the underbelly of the bridge, but were asked by police to sit under the bridge instead to clear the way for traffic.

After the putty came loose on Tuesday, three cops from Chetla police station were seen advising the hawkers under the bridge to move out. They were asked to shift to a nearby lane, hawkers said.

Sumitra Malik, 50, was shaken when the pieces of putty fell on her. "I initially thought they were bits of concrete," she said.

Some residents said the putty had been pasted under the deck slabs of the bridge about a year ago.

An engineer working for a private company that builds bridges told Metro that the custodians of the bridge could check if any water seepage had led to the loosening of the putty. "The exposed portion doesn't look bad but the custodians could check if the putty came off because of damp on the underside of the deck and if that had been caused by water seepage. If that is true, then corrective measures need to be taken," the engineer said after Metro sent the picture to him.

A senior engineer of the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), which is in charge of the upkeep of the bridge, said the putty had come off because of overloaded trucks that brush against the deck slab while travelling under the bridge. "Overloaded trucks brushing against the underbelly cause the putty to loosen," he said.

Drivers of overloaded trucks often force the vehicle under the bridge, causing damage to the structure. Some trucks even break the height barriers installed to stop them.

CMDA engineers surveyed around 40 bridges under its custody over the weekend. A report will be filed and a committee would decide what tests and repairs need to be conducted.