Freight traffic movement in four bridges —Arabindo Setu, Belgachia bridge, Tollygunge bridge and Bijan Setu — has also been restricted. (Express Photo by Partha Paul/File)
The West Bengal government on Saturday imposed a ban on entry and exit of heavy vehicles with 20 wheels or more in the city. The ban will be effective from September 10. Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar said that the heavy vehicles which are already in the city have been asked to leave within two days.
“The Majherhat bridge collapse is being investigated. I am assuring you that we will be able to normalise the traffic situation in a day or two. We are working round the clock so that people don’t face problems. There are a few bridges where we will not even allow normal goods vehicles. These will be allowed after the bridges are repaired,” said police commissioner Kumar.
Freight traffic movement in four bridges —Arabindo Setu, Belgachia bridge, Tollygunge bridge and Bijan Setu — has also been restricted.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Thursday said 20 bridges in and around the city needed urgent repair. “I do not want 20-wheel trucks to ply on city roads. Port and others have to make alternative arrangements,” she had said after the Majherhat bridge collapse.
Truck operators and transporters are not happy with the decision. “We are not worried about 20 or 22-wheel trailers because they are mainly used in dock areas. But putting restrictions on goods vehicle will affect business. We will request the government to find an alternative. Every bridge in Bengal is dangerous and needs maintenance. Does that mean trucks cannot move in the city? This restriction will not only hamper industry but will also have a negative impact on the economy of the state,” Sajal Ghosh of Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators’ Association said.
Operations within the Kolkata Dock System in Kidderpore will also be severely affected by the ban.
“Today we held a meeting with the traders. We have decided to offer a few relaxations. We are also trying to build an ecosystem that will help overcome the crisis and minimise impact on trade. They wanted extra free time for keeping cargo in port as there are delays due to traffic congestion. The free period for exports has been extended from 7 days to 10 days,” said Kolkata Port Trust chairman Vinit Kumar.
with the Express Morning Briefing