The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is exploring the possibility of setting up a state-of-the-art mastic plant at the outskirts of the city as an alternative to the hot mix plants for road construction. Hot mix plants have been under the glare of the National Green Tribunal for the last two years due to pollution.
“We have held talks with a German based company and they have demonstrated the technology of the mastic plant. The matter will be placed before NGT and as the mastic plant is a costly proposition, the finalisation will take time,” said a senior official of KMC’s road department.
KMC has already started work for a batch mix plant at Goragacha Road in Taratala which will be semi-automatic and most importantly, environment friendly. The department has also identified another 5 bigha land at Bhangar block in South 24-Parganas for another batch mix plant.
“We have already formed a road advisory quality & environment committee to explore the ways of using environment friendly material as an alternative of hot mix for road construction and maintenance. We are welcome to suggestions from all quarters in this regard,” said Ratan Dey, Member Mayor in Council (Roads).
Apart from KMC, Public Works Department and Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority, there are officials of Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners (HRBC) and experts from IIT Kharagpur in the committee.
IIT Kharagpur has suggested the KMC to do a pilot project on the use of concrete white topping on existing bituminous roads while the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) has suggested an alternative bituminous mix to be used on roads.
It may be mentioned that the eastern bench of the NGT in October 2018, had banned the use of hot mix plants for road construction in the city. KMC on the basis of recommendations by West Bengal Pollution Control Board has taken steps for modernisation of the two hot mix plants located at Palmer Bazar near Entally and at Goragacha Road in Taratala and are still operating these two plants under the monitoring of NGT and have been constantly informing the green bench of the steps being taken to reduce pollution in these two plants and seeking alternatives.