The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) mayor Firhad Hakim, today held a pre-puja meeting where preparatory measures taken up by the civic body for upcoming Durga Puja were discussed and which also included assessing whether the Tallah Bridge can be used during the puja days. The mayor today held a meeting at the KMC headquarters. Some of the MMICs who were present were Mr Ratan Dey of roads department, Mr Debashish Kumar of parks and squares, and Mr Swapan Samaddar of the environment department and others.

Mr Hakim said “Before the onset of puja, KMC will complete all the road renovation works. There are several roads where we have taken up repair work. I am personally going on a road inspection work tonight. Other government agencies in Kolkata also need to work in tandem. Several big pujas are organised in Behala and hence an extensive road repair has been taken up in Behala, especially where stations have come up. The work has been taken up by PWD. The road near the EM Bypass in the Anandapur area is also being repaired by KMDA.”

Mr Hakim, who is also the state urban development minister, pointed out “The RITES agency who carried out studies of the Tallah bridge, has informed us that the bridge in North Kolkata needs to be closed down and vehicles be stopped from plying till repair is carried out. I have sent a team today for final inspection to determine whether it can be used, at least, during the Puja time to reduce congestion. A report will be submitted on the same.” It was learnt reportedly that RITES has called for complete dismantling of the bridge due to its beyond repair condition.

Plans are afoot to construct eight feet high height bars on three sides of the bridge that connects Kolkata and North 24-Parganas, to restrict the entry of large vehicles such as trucks or buses. Approximately, Rs 26 lakh is being spent to install the height bars within next 21 days. Several people who reside under the bridge will also be rehabilitated. Mr Hakim added: “We are also arranging for additional pumps in some wards where big scale pujas are held every year. One such is ward 76. Additionally, due to the weather forecast predicting rains during Puja, the drainage department needs to make proper arrangements.”

We need to have a proper drainage plan. In case there is waterlogging, we will have to go on a war footing to drain the water from the streets. Another meeting on drainage will be conducted soon.” He added: “Conservancy workers will be working towards ensuring that major thoroughfares remain clean.” Meanwhile, police sources said that traffic movement in the city may be hit during the Pujas if Tallah bridge is closed for repairing ahead of the festive season. The movement of vehicles in the city is already slow and traffic is severely strained owing to the closures of Chetla Lock Gate bridge on Chetla Road and Satya Doctor Road in Port area. The movement of heavy goods vehicles has already been restricted on Tallah bridge since last Saturday as the condition of the structure is very poor.