Durgapur News Service, 02 September 2014: With dilapidated and potholed roads, the Durgapur Small Industries Zone near Muchipara beside NH2 has virtually become inaccessible. So bad is the condition of the roads in the area that industry owners having units there has to shell out extra money to transporters to ferry goods.
In the tussle between Durgapur Municipal Corporation (DMC) and the Asansol Durgapur Development Authority (ADDA) as to who owes the responsibility of repairing the road, the industrial units in the area has to suffer.
Chief Minister visited Singapore to woo investors but both the civic bodies (ADDA and DMC) run by her own party are virtually passing the buck on one another and is declining to take the responsibility of repairing roads; considered to be the “basic infrastructure” for setting up of industry.
Durgapur Small Industries Zone is a four-acre complex that houses over 100 factories feeding raw materials and manufacturing small parts for supplying to Durgapur Steel Plant, Alloy Steel Plant and IISCO in the 70s. The factories in the zone have an operating capital of around Rs 6 crore each.
The president of the Durgapur Small Industries Association, who had last week said he was “fed up” with the Trinamool Congress and the Burdwan administration for failing to control construction materials supply syndicates, complained yesterday that the roads were not maintained for years. Singh said the roads had become potholed years ago but the situation did not improve after Trinamool took control of the government in 2011 and the municipal corporation the next year.
“We pay between Rs 60 and Rs 80 per truck as toll tax, depending on the vehicle’s size, to the DMC for the maintenance of the roads in the industrial zone. But I cannot recall when the civic body last carried out repair work,” said Kripal Singh, the chief of the association.
“I have repeatedly urged the DMC and the ADDA to repair the roads but they keep passing the buck on each other. Our vehicles are getting damaged and transporters are not willing to use the roads,” said Singh, who owns an iron rod-manufacturing unit in the Durgapur Small Industries Zone.
Around 500 mini and large trucks use the zone’s road network daily. The DMC collects toll tax through the Khairasole Industrial Supplier Association, an agency that also supplies construction materials to the factories in the area. There are four toll plazas at various entry points to the zone.
“Last week, a truck transporting iron pipes from my factory overturned after hitting a crater and all the goods fell on the road. The driver could not judge the depth of the crater as it was filled with water,” said a factory owner who did not wish to be named.
The ADDA, which was formed by the government in 1979 to develop industrial and urban infrastructure in the region between Panagarh in the east and Barakar in the west, constructed the road of the Durgapur Small Industries Zone.
The responsibility of the upkeep of the road was handed over to the DMC after it was formed in 1996.
Four months ago, the Durgapur Small Industries Association had appealed to the DMC and the ADDA to repair the roads. Association president Singh said the ADDA had agreed to repair the road provided the business outfit paid half the cost.
Asked why such an unusual condition was set, an ADDA official said on condition of anonymity that the development authority was not responsible for the upkeep of the roads but had agreed to repair them, treating it as a “special case” as the pathways were located in an industrial zone. The official said the around Rs 4 crore would be required for the repair work.
The association has rejected the suggestion. “We are already paying civic property tax, toll tax and trade license fee. It won’t be possible for us to take the burden of repairing the road, which the government should do,” Singh said.
ADDA chief executive officer Sumit Gupta said the DMC should repair the roads as the civic body collected toll tax.
The DMC said it could not maintain the roads alone.
“We collect toll tax from trucks through a local agency. The money is spent on repairing roads across Durgapur, including residential areas. We cannot take the financial burden of repairing and maintaining the road network at the small industries zone alone. The ADDA should come forward and join hands with us,” said Prabhat Chatterjee, the mayor-in-council member for roads and public works at the DMC.
The net result of this tussle is that you will find ducks swimming in water-bodies formed by the huge potholes in the road.