Cops prepare for curbs on truck entry in Burrabazar and Posta
Senior officers of Calcutta police on Friday began an exercise to examine whether trucks reaching parts of Burrabazar and Posta from outside Bengal could be terminated at a truck terminal on Kona Expressway and the goods ferried in small pick-up vans to the trading hub.
Mayor Firhad Hakim had said on Thursday that movement of trucks to Burrabazar needs to be curbed to avoid spread of Covid-19 and that the police have been asked to find an alternative unloading spot for trucks.
Several Burrabazar traders have told the police that most of them do not have godowns and trucks that arrive with goods usually remain parked on roads — mostly along Strand Road — for days till unloading is completed.
“We are trying to ascertain how many trucks usually reach Burrabazar every day and what is the mechanism of loading and unloading of goods from trucks,” said a senior officer of the Calcutta police’s central division. “We will also have to examine the existing capacity of the Dhulagarh truck terminal on Kona Expressway and the facilities available there.”
Traders and truck operators from Posta and Burrabazar have told the police that around 1,200 trucks reach the wholesale hub every day and the number goes up to around 3,000 ahead of festive seasons, including Id and Durga Puja. This number could vary, officers said, while collecting information on movement of goods vehicles in this area.
Senior officers said if curbs were to be imposed on entry of trucks, proper scanning facilities would have to be set up with doctors and healthcare workers at the truck terminal in Dhulagarh so that drivers arriving from other states, along with their helpers, can be screened for the coronavirus.
Drivers of the vehicles carrying goods from the terminal to the markets in central Calcutta would also have to be screened every day to avoid chances of spread from possible carriers. All the vehicles would have to be sanitised.
“Movement of heavy vehicles cannot be restricted without creating adequate infrastructure at the truck terminal on Kona Expressway,” an officer said. “We had to stagger movement of trucks carrying fruits to Mechhua because there wasn't enough space to accommodate around 60 vehicles at the wholesale market.”
Truck operators said Dhulagarh truck terminal could accommodate up to 300 trucks and if there has to be steady flow of trucks in and out of the parking lot, some basic infrastructure would be required.
“For a truck terminal to be functional, there must be several godowns and facilities for allowing labourers to stay. There should be a proper eating house and a workshop for repairs,” said Subhas Chandra Bose, the general secretary of the West Bengal Truck Operators’ Association.