Sunday reprieve for goods vehicles

Repairs on for smooth flow

By Subhajoy Roy, Kinsuk Basu and Sambit Saha in Calcutta
  • Published 10.09.18
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An 22-wheel truck moves down Hyde Road in Taratala on Sunday afternoon. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

Calcutta: Trucks, including ones with 20 or more wheels, entered and left Calcutta throughout Sunday as police lifted the curb on their movement for the weekend but transporters complained that police prevented goods vehicles from entering the city through Dunlop.

"Trucks carrying essential commodities usually enter Calcutta through two points - Vidyasagar Setu and Nivedita Setu. The vehicles that took the Nivedita Setu route were stopped at Dunlop and were not allowed to proceed further," said Inderjit Singh Sekhon, a transporter.

An officer of the Barrackpore commissionerate denied the charge. "May be the police delayed the movement of trucks because of snarls but they didn't completely stop the movement of trucks," the officer said.

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation has started repairing several roads in the port area, such as Old Goragacha Road and Hoboken Road, so that buses and other vehicles that are being diverted following the collapse can stay away from Hyde Road and Circular Garden Reach Road, through which trucks ply to and from the port in the afternoon.

On the first two days after the collapse of the Majerhat bridge on Tuesday afternoon, the period during which goods vehicles could ply in the city had been curtailed to 11pm-to-6am, from the earlier 11pm-to-8am. On Friday, this was relaxed to 10pm-to-6am.

Police had said port-bound trucks would be allowed to ply between noon and 4pm, like before. On Saturday, the police announced that all restrictions on goods vehicles would stand withdrawn on the weekends.

Metro found 22-wheelers plying down Hyde Road on Sunday. "Trucks that had reached places like Dankuni or Kharagpur were allowed to come to the port, unload their goods and leave by Sunday night," an officer said.

Immediately after the collapse, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had announced a ban on the movement of trucks with 20 or more wheels in Calcutta.

Sekhon and other transporters alleged there was still a lack of clarity on the movement of trucks. "The police have said trucks carrying essential commodities should call the traffic control room if they face any problem. Do you think truckers have the numbers of the control room? Trained cops should be posted at crucial points to guide truckers to their destinations," a transporter said.

The lifting of the curbs for the weekend meant brisk business at the port.

Port officials said 1,450 trucks had loaded and unloaded goods on Saturday and another 1,500 on Sunday. The numbers were far less on Thursday and Friday.

"About 6,500 containers are still lying unattended at the port," an official said.

Port officials fear trade would again be hampered once the curbs are back on Monday.