They have caused broken limbs, shattered bones and great inconvenience to walkers for years and decades in the city.
But dug-up roads and pavements - a common sight in Kolkata - will soon be a thing of the past if promises of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) authorities can be taken at face value.
The Trinamool-controlled KMC authorities have decided to not leave a single stretch of the city streets or the pavements dug up for months after any emergency maintenance of underground services.
“We have decided to take up the restoration of dug-up roads or footpaths on the day following the completion of any emergency maintenance work of underground utility services that necessitated the digging activity in the first place,” Atin Ghosh, member, mayor-in-council (engineering & health), told HT.
According to senior officials of the civic engineering department, KMC would create files for restoration of any dug-up road or pavement while approving the digging job by any underground utility services.
Usually KMC takes months, and often years, to restore damaged roads.
In the KMC bureaucracy, creating files is an important step towards undertaking the repair jobs.
Ghosh has already instructed the borough executive engineers to create files immediately after getting applications for digging up the roads.
“We take restoration charges and grant permission for digging up roads and pavements from different underground utility services. But we undertake the actual restoration job only after going through months of paper work and tendering process. Such a system needs to change,” Ghosh said.
“Kicking off restoration work immediately after the completion of maintenance work is the key to ensuring better civic services,” Ghosh told HT.
However, there are some counter arguments from within the KMC.
“The director general (civil), PK Dua, has indeed given us such an instruction. But there are some problems. Often the delay is deliberately allowed for the soil to settle properly. Sometimes utility agencies dig up longer stretches than they initially apply for.
So, if we prepare a file before they complete digging, we may end up sanctioning a repair job on a shorter stretch than the actual damage,” said Anindya Kumar Ghosh, executive engineer for borough III (Beliaghata-Phulbagan area).
Civic body has initiated steps from Thursday and the target is to complete all pending restoration work before Durga Puja.
“I was forced to take bed rest and take leave from my job due to the irresponsible act of the civic body by keeping the footpath dug up for months. It is good news that the civic bosses have woken up to the cause,” said Shyambazar resident Sanjoy Pal, who had broken his left leg after tripping in a dug-up pavement in Ultadanga area in May.