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Chaos in Tallah bridge closure aftermath

Chaos is likely to increase once more schools and colleges reopen after Diwali

By Kinsuk Basu in Calcutta

  • Published 15.10.19, 4:47 AM
  • Updated 15.10.19, 4:47 AM
Shyambazar-bound vehicles near the Tallah bridge on Monday afternoon.
Shyambazar-bound vehicles near the Tallah bridge on Monday afternoon. Pradip Sanyal

A chock-a-block RG Kar Road, vehicles queueing up on the Belgachhia bridge, ambulances struggling to reach the RG Kar Medical College and Hospital and cars tailing up on BT Road — such was the impact of the bus ban on the Tallah bridge on Monday, the first working day after Puja for many.

Bus operators on several routes didn’t operate their full fleet. But that did little to reduce the congestion on RG Kar Road, the lifeline of commuters travelling to Shyambazar and beyond from the northern fringe.

Cops deployed along the stretch struggled to keep buses, minibuses, Matadors and cars moving on their way to the Shyambazar five-point crossing during rush hours. The chaos continued in the afternoon.

“Buses diverted from BT Road were joining those plying down RG Kar Road from parts of Barasat, Baduria or New Town. Since the road space has remained the same, congestion is inevitable,” said an officer of Calcutta traffic police near Shyambazar.

“It’s not just about east-west movement along RG Kar Road. There is north-south movement of vehicles along Canal West Road as well. So vehicles have to be stopped for crossing over and that is adding to the congestion,” the officer said.

If buses and minibuses crawled around RG Kar hospital, cars struggled to reach the Tallah bridge from the Paikpara-BT Road crossing.

Police allowed vehicles travelling from Tallah Park along Raja Manindra Road to reach BT Road. Cars started slowing down soon after crossing the GTS tower near Chunnibabur Bazar on BT Road as buses and minibuses headed towards Dunlop spilled over on BT Road from Raja Manindra Road.

“I thought reaching the Tallah bridge would be a smooth ride down BT Road. But it was a challenge because more buses were taking turns to leave BT Road forcing smaller vehicles to stop,” said Dipak Kumar Sarkar, a resident of Belghoria who was stuck in a snarl on BT Road on Monday afternoon.

The chaos is likely to increase once more schools and colleges reopen post Diwali.

Several bus operators, including those on routes 234 and 234/1 that ply down the Tallah bridge, have appealed to their unions for immediate route-realignment.

“Else, we will have to withdraw service,” said Deb Kumar Moitra, one of the operators on route 222 that plies between Bonhooghly and Behala. “Passengers are switching to autos to take them to Metro stations. There is no point running buses taking diversion and burning additional fuel.”

Engineers from the public works department said they were waiting for a meeting with chief minister Mamata Banerjee to be attended by engineering consultancy RITES and railway officials. The meeting is likely to decide whether the Tallah bridge would be retained and repaired or pulled down to make way for a new structure.