Citing huge losses, most of the bus operators on nine routes connecting north Kolkata and North 24 Parganas district with the heart of the city via “very weak” Tallah Bridge have withdrawn their services.
Around 350 buses used to ply on these nine routes — 34B (Dunlop-Esplanade), 34C (Noapara-Esplanade), 78 (Barrackpore-Esplanade), 201 (Nimta-Nicco Park), 214 (Sajirhat-Babughat), 222 (Bonhooghly-Behala Chowrasta), 32A (Dakshineswar-Sector V, Salt Lake), 202 (Nagerbazar-Science City) and S-185 (Nimta-Howrah minibus) — daily. Monday onwards, almost half the operators have withdrawn the services, causing immense problem to the commuters of north Kolkata and its suburbs.
Read in Bangla here.
The operators of 34B were the first to withdraw services from Saturday.
The Tallah Bridge has been shut for vehicles weighing above three tonnes by Kolkata traffic police and Transport Department has worked out alternative routes, which the bus operators claim are longer and hence causing them immense losses due to more fuel consumption.
The operators have informed the Joint Council of Bus Syndicates about their difficulties, requesting it to intervene.
“They are unable to provide services due to daily losses. They are not even able to earn the fuel cost. The fuel consumption has increased by Rs 500 per day on an average,” said Tapan Bandopadhyay, Joint Secretary of the syndicate.
As per the bus operators, they have also informed the state government about the issue. “It is not possible for the private bus owners to face such huge losses for a long time. They (government) must think of an alternative. Due to longer routes, the number of passengers have also come down,” said an operator.
Meanwhile, a final decision regarding the Talla Bridge has not been taken yet.
The condition of the 57-year-old Tallah Bridge is very critical and experts have asked the state government to demolish it. During Durga Puja, a private agency from Mumbai and the experts from consultancy company RITES had examined the bridge and submitted a report at the state secretariat.
As per sources, experts had observed that even light vehicles should not ply on the bridge for a long time.
On the other hand, police from Monday allowed traffic movement on Chitpur Lock Gate flyover towards Bagbazar from B T Road between 6 am and 1 pm, which was earlier one-way.