The construction of a footbridge across Chowringhee Road at the Exide crossing would begin by end of this month, sources in the municipal corporation said.
The project has a sixmonth deadline and is likely to be thrown open to pedestrians before year-end. An official of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) said work to connect footpaths near Calcutta Club and the Exide building would begin before June 1.
“The work would start from the side of Calcutta Club We have identified the underground utilities on that side that needs to be removed,” said a corporation official.
The official said that there were electric cables, water supply lines and some Internet cables under the footpath on the side of Calcutta Club. “CESC has already started removing their cables. The water supply lines and other utility lines would also be removed soon,” he said.
Both ends of the footbridge will have escalators to make people use the footbridge.
A police officer who managed traffic at the Exide crossing for several years said the authorities should also plan how to make pedestrians use the footbridge.
“Most footbridges in Calcutta remain largely unused. There should be a plan about how to make pedestrians use it. A lot of people cross over from the side of Exide to Calcutta Club,” he said.
Footbridges in Ballygunge, Ultadanga, Rajabazar and in front of the gate of NRS Medical College and Hospital in Sealdah remain unused, while pedestrians risk their lives to cross the road. A CMC official said they were hoping that the escalators would make people use the footbridge. None of the existing footbridges, barring the one inaugurated earlier this year in front of Alipore zoo, had escalators.
Calcutta police had installed boom barriers at the Exide crossing last year to discipline pedestrians and ensure that they cross only when the signal is green for them. But some of the boom barriers lie unused and where they are in use, pedestrians keep flouting them.
The footbridge at the Exide crossing would be built under public-private partnership (PPP) scheme. Battery manufacturers Exide Industries Ltd would bear the construction cost of the footbridge.
“We are the funding partners and Matiere Titagarh Bridges Private Limited, a joint venture between Titagarh and a French company, would build it,” said Jitendra Kumar, the company secretary of Exide Industries Limited, said.
A team of teachers from Jadavpur University will vet the design of the footbridge and the civic body would facilitate the construction as a government partner.
Source: The Telegraph