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Pvt buses on Talla Bridge stop plying citing losses

Kolkata: Daily commuters of North Suburban Kolkata are facing immense trouble as a number of private buses have stopped plying through the diverted routes after the closure of Talla Bridge. Bus owners are claiming that they are facing huge losses after plying through those routes. On the other hand, the cops on Monday informed that traffic movement on Chitpur Lock Gate flyover will ply towards Bagbazar from B T Road between 6 am and 1 pm. Following that, movement will be towards B T Road from Bagbazar.

Apart from closure of the bus routes, the state administration is facing difficulties to shift the underground pipelines which connect Talla pumping station with Palta pumping station and supply water throughout the city. The main pipeline was laid during 1868.

Several other pipelines which were laid later for supplying of drinking water in the city will need to be shifted. If the Talla Bridge gets demolished, those pipelines will need to be shifted too. But the Kolkata Municipal Corporation has found that there are no alternative places where those pipelines can be shifted.

According to sources, earlier immediately after the diversion plan was published, bus owners expressed their unhappiness suspecting huge losses. Few of the bus owners had stopped providing services few days after the notification. However, several buses were in service but majority of them reportedly faced huge losses due to running extra kilometres and not having enough passengers.

Some of the bus owners have started running as shuttles to lower the loss. But that has not changed the scenario. According to the bus owners during Durga Puja days, they provided services keeping the festive rush in mind. But after the Puja got over, it has become difficult for them to provide normal services.

According to Joint Council of Bus Syndicate, the bus owners have conveyed the message to the body and requested for its intervention.

Tapan Banerjee, joint secretary of the syndicate, informed that the bus owners are unable to provide services for several reasons. Due to the extra kilometres, each bus owner is facing difficulty. Not a single has earned even the fuel cost. The fuel consumption has increased by Rs 500 on an average per day.

From Monday morning, buses from 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) have stopped plying. As a result, daily commuters faced immense trouble reaching their destinations. Approximately 350 buses from these nine routes used to ply every day.

Banerjee on Monday said: "We have informed the state government regarding the problem. It is not possible for the private bus owners to face such huge losses for a long time. I have spoken to the Transport department today (Monday) and sent some proposals. Officials have assured me that the matter will be looked into."

Abashesh Daw, the general secretary of Mini Bus Operators' Coordination Committee said: "The closure of plying of buses on Talla Bridge has affected us a lot. We are running in losses. We have stopped running minibuses on Nimta- Howrah route. Bus owners of other routes from Northern Suburbs are finding it difficult to ply their vehicles as well."

The final decision regarding Talla Bridge has not been taken yet. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will decide what to do to solve the problem in order to arrange hassle-free journey for daily commuters as far as possible.

Sources informed that already the police and the state Transport department are looking for alternatives for smooth vehicular movement. Also, search is on to locate space to rehabilitate the people living under the Talla Bridge.

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