The 100-metre stretch of SN Banerjee Road, a shopping landmark preferred by a large number of shoppers, is to remain closed for four days from Thursday as the tunnel boring machine for the Esplanade -Sealdah leg of East-West Metro will make its way through the ground underneath.
Last week, the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL) had sent a notice to the occupants of the 100-metre stretch. The notice sent, mentioned two types of preparatory measure to be taken before the arrival of the TBM at the stretch that has some of the most dilapidated structures. While the permanent residents were asked to evacuate their homes, others mainly including businessmen like hotels, shops, and a large number of hawkers, have been asked to keep their premises. The selected stretch will be barricaded to restrict pedestrian movement.
As part of the first stage, the stretch from 9 S. N Banerjee to 1, S N Banerjee Road is to remain vacant from 28 March to 31 March. The stretch beyond 1, S N Banerjee Road, which houses the local branch office of Canara Bank, is to be evacuated after 28 March and end at Regal Cinema on 8 April in the next round of evacuation. “We did not want the people to face unnecessary harassment by evacuating all of them for 10 days,” said a KMRCL official. “Hence the evacuation and closure has been planned according to the movement of the TBM,” he added.
As the German-made TBM Chandi headed towards the ‘critical zone’ starting from 9 S. N. Banerjee Road to Regal Cinema, some of the residents of the stretch were evacuated on Tuesday night and provided with an alternate accommodation at a hotel in Dalhousie. The other recipients of the notice which include hundreds of hawkers and shop owners are supposed to keep their premises closed for four days starting from tonight.
The selected stretch, located at the heart of Esplanade, is one of the commercial hubs of the area. According to one of the shop owners, the area includes around 40 shops and hundreds of hawkers’ stalls. With clusters of shops and larger counts of hawkers, it attracts a considerable number of buyers. The gate number four of Metro railway at the entrance of SN Banerjee Road which is being kept close temporarily, adds to the footfall, as lakhs of commuters pass through the gate every day