Kolkata, 4 October
Apprehending trouble in case an accident takes place while bringing idols of goddess Durga to puja pandals due to the poor condition of roads, several puja organisers in Howrah are pestering police officers to take steps for the repair work, the reason being, repeated request to local civic bodies and Public Works Department (PWD) for the repair work fell into deaf ears.
The Puja organisers have been asking police for the past one month to urge the concerned departments to undertake the repair work. During meetings at local police stations over security arrangements to avoid any untoward incident during the festival, the Puja committee members repeatedly told police that the poor condition of roads may create various problems during the Puja.
Puja organisers are in deep trouble now as the roads are yet to get repaired and truck drivers are reluctant to take the risk of ferrying the idols. An idol of Goddess Durga usually measures 12 to 13 feet in height and in some cases it goes up to 15 feet as well. Truck drivers carrying idols are cautious even when the condition of the roads are good. With six days left for Puja, the organisers have to start bringing idols.
Officer-in-charge of a police station said the Puja organisers are not willing to realize that police cannot take any step for the repair work apart from requesting the concerned departments of the state government. Members of several Puja committees have been visiting the police stations with the same purpose almost everyday. “We are panicked as members of some Puja committees told that there would be law and order problem if an accident takes place while ferrying idols of Goddess Durga,” the officer said.
There are around 600 Pujas in the urban part of Howrah. Most of the Puja organisers bring idols on truck from various places including Kumartuli, Salkia and Uttarpara. Thus, they have to take GT Road and Girish Ghosh Road to reach their Puja mandaps.
Both the roads are filled with craters and the situation turns worse with rainfall. Drivers cannot make out the potholes, as major stretches of the roads remain water-logged for about an hour after a spell of heavy rainfall. Road accidents have become a daily routine in the past two months.