Several roads under the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) have been severely damaged in heavy rainfall this monsoon, while the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the repairing part, SMC officials said today. Many motorists and commuters have complained that the crater-filled roads were not only slowing traffic, but also posing danger of accidents.

“Several roads under the SMC have been damaged due to the heavy rains, and some roads have been waterlogged due to torrential rainfall,” chairperson of the board of administrators, SMC, Asok Bhattacharya, said. According to the irrigation and waterways department, the town received 4075.80 mm of rainfall since January and till today, while last year it was around 3000 mm rainfall during the same period.

Apart from regular maintenance, roads get repairing twice in a year–before the monsoon and before Durga Puja. According to Mr Bhattacharya, the civic body did not get any funds from the disaster management department for road repairing in the past five years.

“I will request Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to look into the issue so that the funds are granted,” he said. Earlier, the civic body faced hurdles in the premonsoon road repair work due to the lockdown. On the other hand, repairing work of principal roads worth Rs 22 crore is underway. Mr Bhattacharya said control rooms will remain open till Sunday as there was forecast for rain, while water pumps will also be ready.

He said the construction of a drain by the SJDA and the PWD at Bidhan Market triggered water logging in the town. TMC hits back As Mr Bhattacharya trained his guns against the state government for the latter’s alleged non-cooperation in plans to install a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the town, the Trinamul Congress has raised questions as to why he did not erect the statue despite the ‘announcement’ when he was a minister in the former Left Front government.

The leader of the coordinators at the SMC, Ranjan Sarkar, today said the SMC had announced the statue would be erected opposite the railway reservation booking centre at Safdar Hasmi Chawk when Mr Bhattacharya was the urban development and municipal affairs minister and Gangotri Datta was the mayor.

“It was the failure of the then government to implement the decision, but it is strange that Mr Bhattacharya is accusing the present government to suppress their own failure,” Mr Sarkar said.