Kolkata: Truck movement in Kolkata has returned to the 10pm-8am routine. During lockdown, Kolkata traffic police had allowed the entry of trucks throughout the day to ease movement of essential supplies. But with a number of traffic signals and CCTV cameras not working on the roads, manually managing the large number of trucks had become impossible. Cops reached the decision of going back to the 10pm-8am rule after near-normal traffic hit the road over the past few days. The move, however, will not impact small trucks critical to the last-mile connectivity from wholesale hubs to local markets.
“With nearly 200 of the 550-odd traffic signals and over 500 CCTV cameras on major roads still not functioning even two weeks after Cyclone Amphan, we could not have manually managed the trucks. There were already reports from BT Road, Strand Bank Road and CR Avenue. The number of trucks entering the city, too, had increased with the opening of businesses and easing of truck movement,” said an officer.
However, the police said they have also decided to step up checks at the city borders against speeding trucks.
According to major transport operators in Bengal, between two lakh and three lakh trucks ply on the highways on any given day. However, since the lockdown, not more than 20,000-25,000 trucks had been plying daily. “The number has now reached close to 2 lakh,” said a Bengal police officer.
“Wholesale markets will not have any problem. They typically functions from 10pm till the morning and trucks had been coming all these days. They were loaded and unloaded during the day. We have no problem in going back to our old routine,” said Kamal Dey, president of West Bengal Vendors’ Association at Koley Market.
“Trucks come to Posta Market during the night and loading-unloading happened till morning. During the lockdown, vehicles used to come in throughout the day. We did not feel any difference apart from the steady availability of essential items. I don’t think there will be any problem if trucks come only during the night,” said Biswanath Agarwal, general secretary of Posta Merchants’ Welfare Association.
“When the lockdown was imposed, relaxation was allowed to trucks given that several markets were following strict sanitization rules and unloading took a lot more time — close to 13 hours. But now with truck movement restricted to 10 hours, both unloading and general safety of the market against Covid may take a beating,” said Pradip Jhunjhunwala, a Posta trader.
With deveral bridges out of bounds for trucks, truckers said they will have to depend on BT Road and Santragachhi for entry into Kolkata.
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