Kolkata: Traffic on a huge stretch in the eastern periphery of the city, including parts of Salt Lake, came to a grinding halt on Saturday, the worst-affected being the area near Ultadanga-Hudco crossing.
Union minister Suresh Prabhu’s convoy, the poor condition of the Ultadanga Main Road, inspection of Sreebhumi by senior personnel for the upcoming Pujas and repair work on VIP Road, also near Sreebhumi, contributed to the traffic mess.
While the Ultadanga traffic guard and the Kolkata Police sent out advisory, warning of slow movement on VIP Road and asking commuters to avoid the stretch, Bidhanngar Police said the “traffic jam was blown out of proportion”. “We just passed by Ultadanga crossing and found no congestion there,” said Amit Jawalgi, DC (headquarters). But an officer from the Kolkata Police pointed out that a road roller near the Sreebhumi bus stop, where a subway is coming up, had obstructed the way of other vehicles, leading to a jam there.
At Salt Lake, the snarl began from Hudco crossing and stretched up to almost 3 No. Island on First Avenue. “I was stuck near PNB Island for about 45 minutes,” said Soumen Chatterjee, a resident of AE Block, who was driving to Dalhousie.
Daily commuters claimed they had been facing the snarls for the past one week or so. “Autos and even some buses have started swerving away from the main roads and taking the inside lanes through the blocks from the CA Island-end to reach Salt Lake Gate at EM Bypass junction to avoid the congestion on the main road,” said Mainak Chatterjee, a resident of BA Block. Belgachia resident Kaushik Chatterjee has been getting caught in snarls every day while returning home. “It is taking over 40 minutes to travel from the PNB Island at Salt Lake to the Ultadanga station,” the IT employee said.