SVBTC Organized ‘Round Table Dialogue on Transport Connectivity in the Kolkata-Howrah Region’

Second Vivekananda Bridge Tollway Company Pvt Ltd (SVBTC) organized a round table dialogue on “Transport Connectivity in the Kolkata-Howrah Region” on 14th March at ITC Royal Bengal, Kolkata. The dialogue was focused on the existing & future road transport network corridors in the Kolkata-Howrah region.

Ms. Melinda Pavek, US Consulate General, Kolkata; Shri Ranjanvir Singh Kapur, IAS, MD, WBTC, GoWB; Dr Sudip K Roy, Dean Academic & Prof, Former Head, Civil Engineering Dept, Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur; Dr. Pritam Aitch, Professor and Former Head of Construction Engineering Dept, Jadavpur University; Shri Rupesh Kumar, IPS, Joint Commissioner of Police Traffic; Shri. Srikumar Bhattacharya, ME (Structure), Chairman, Project Clearance Committee, Finance Department, Govt of West Bengal, Shri Rajib Chattaraj, Chief Engineer, National Highway Wing, PWD; Dr. Ravindra Verma, Co-Founder & Managing Director, SVBTC; Mr. Lala K K Roy, Chairman – Advisory Board, SVBTC and Mr. Anjan Roy Chowdhury, Chief Executive Officer, SVBTC participated in the round table dialogue.

Mr. Anjan Roy Chowdhury, Chief Executive Officer, SVBTC, welcomed all the speakers and delegates to the Round Table Dialogue. In his welcome address Mr. Roy Chowdhury said, “This Round Table Dialogue is indeed very timely for all of us Kolkatans, as we have witnessed a major road traffic resurgence post Covid Pandemic lockdown. This traffic is likely to further enhance significantly over the coming years as India, including West Bengal & North-Eastern States are witnessing major growth. I urge all of you to participate in this Round Table Dialogue to discuss in full detail of our challenges and to jointly help to find optimal solutions for the future optimal road network. We have invited a wide array of distinguished speakers to address the same.”

Ms. Melinda Pavek, US Consulate General, Kolkata addressed the roundtable attendees and she stressed on the significance of this Indo-Pacific region in the USA-India strategic collaboration, including the working together of the Quad members -namely USA, India, Japan & Australia. She also welcomed further USA investments into West Bengal’s transport & logistics infrastructure sectors.

Mr. Lala KK Roy explained on the introduction of a policy on transportation modes for communication with business areas to replace the “free for all” practice on transport modes in city and urban roads. Mr. Roy further spoke on present deficiencies in roadways, intersection development and flyover identification and recommendations. Mr. Roy also spoke regarding building of a ring road around Kolkata-Howrah for proper distribution of traffic and he also discussed regarding the proposed logistics hub along the proposed ring road. A map in this regard pointing out the proposed ring road alignment plan was also shared by him.

Shri Ranjanvir Singh Kapur, MD, WBTC, GoWB, spoke on the history of Kolkata as transport hub. He highlighted regarding the work done by his department on increasing the modes of connectivity especially tramways and waterways. Mr. Kapur stated that additional bridges need to come up since the same is inadequate for the population of Kolkata. He also further suggested regarding introduction of ring road, development of water transport infrastructure to ease congestion.

Prof. Sudip K Roy spoke about deficiencies in planning of roadways & traffic system. He further stated regarding the review of peri -urban road environment of Kolkata. He made the critical presentation on road capacity, traffic flow (at various points of time during the day) in Kolkata through charts and graphs. He further highlighted regarding vehicular routing problem. He stated regarding public transport transfer point need to be taken care of in order to ease congestion and reduce accidents.

Prof Pritam Aitch stated regarding challenges in Kolkata Traffic Management. He called for coordination of all stake holders like police, road users etc in order to overcome the challenges of Traffic Management. He stated that feeder transport system like metro railways, surface railways and waterways to be developed to ease traffic congestion. He also stated regarding introduction of ring roads in Kolkata-Howrah region and also called for setting up warehouses near the ring road. He further supported that there should not be closure of bridge during night and “No Entry” over bridges instead regular monitoring of bridges should be done.

Shri Rupesh Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) spoke about the need for more elevated flyovers like “MAA Flyover” to ease congestion. He gave the statistics regarding the fact that due to inflow of people from rural areas on regular basis for work, increase in the number of schools as well as other related reasons, the number of vehicles has increased significantly in less than an year. He highlighted that there is no space to build no space to build new roads and hence only way to increase capacity is by building of elevated roads.

Shri. Srikumar Bhattacharya, Chairman, Project Clearance Committee, Finance Department, GoWB highlighted that Kolkata and Howrah region has high population density however corresponding roads to cater the population is very limited. He spoke about introduction of flyovers but also building of tunnels in order to ease traffic congestion. He highlighted regarding the problems faced in case of building of flyovers and tunnels. Mr. Bhattacharya stressed the need for multimodal transport like waterways, tramways, ropeway and light transit rail system.

Shri Rajib Chattaraj, Chief Engineer, National Highway Wing, PWD stated regarding proposal for of improved connectivity to the city of Kolkata and its surrounds. He highlighted regarding proposal for the creation of truck bays before entering the city and widening of highways which would help in easing of traffic. He also highlighted the various steps taken by the Government of West Bengal and in coordination with Government of India for widening of highways in order to ease congestion. Mr Chattaraj also highlighted regarding the ring road around Kolkata and he also presented a map in this regard.

The dialogue created a participatory platform to exchange views of distinguished experts and policy makers regarding improvement of transport connectivities in and around Kolkata city. This kind of dialogue creates hope and possible outcomes can be highly beneficial to make the city of joy’s transport network more joyous for Kolkatans in near future.

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