Cops seek more time for please-all formula

Kolkata : 24 April, 2019 (Hindustan Times)

Ballygunge Place Residents, Traffic Dept Weigh Options; But Parking Problem Continues To Plague School Zones

Kolkata: A day after senior citizens of an upscale south Kolkata neighbourhood braved the heat to protest against the clogging of lanes by pool cars ferrying students to and from their school, it was the turn of the women residing in the area to carry the issue forward by leading a demonstration on Cornfield Road on Tuesday. The cops, however, sought more time to come up with a concrete solution.

“On Monday, the protest was mainly directed at the senior section of South Point High School. On Tuesday, around 20 of us gathered at 11.15am and continued the sit-in for the next one and a half hours to protest against haphazard parking near the junior section. We have written a joint application to the senior as well as the junior school, asking for relief. We have mailed the same plea to the commissioner of police,” said Sreerupa Dasgupta, a resident of Cornfield Road.

The Southeast Traffic Guard, which handles traffic in the area, has sought some time from local residents. “We understand that they are facing certain issues. We are sympathetic to them. But then, we need some more time to implement some of our ideas,” said an officer.

The locals, like Kalyan Sen and Sipra Bose, said it was a mixed day for them. “In the morning, the cops had come to Swinhoe Street and cleared the vehicles parked here. But by evening, things were back to square one with my daughter having a tough time entering our residence,” said Bose.

Nandita Sengupta, another senior citizen, recalled how difficult it was to even get some sleep in the morning as pool cars start honking from as early as 6.30am. “We are under house arrest. The smoke and noise of cars are extremely painful,” she said. “Each time we raised the issue in the past, the cops had initiated some minor changes but all of them lasted only a week,” Sen added.

An officer of the Southeast Traffic Guard said: “The only solution is to ask students to walk or buses to pick up and drop off students on a rotational basis. The residents have proposed the solutions. The first one is not a decision we can take. As for the second, it can have serious repercussions – traffic between Gariahat and Ballygunge Phanri and between Gariahat and Kasba can be severely affected. We will now help local residents to collect passes so that we can fecilitate their entry through Swinhoe Street.”

Dasgupta, however, argued that the police logic had two loopholes. “One, the senior section — from classes V to XII – are mature enough to walk down 50-100 metres on their own from either Cornfield Road or ITI. Two, even the juniors are forced to walk as SUVs block the road all through the day due to random parking,” said an officer.

The school authorities maintained that they would abide by whatever decisions the cops take. “We are in touch with the authorities. We will accept all possible solutions,” said a spokesperson from South Point High School.