Carnival of Rust – A story on the slow construction of flyovers in Kolkata and its impact

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It doesn’t matter which part of the city you live in, it’s irrespective of which road you take to and fro office, college or school; if you live in Kolkata you are bound to be affected by the undergoing slow construction of flyovers, bridges and metro railway in the city. Be it the flyover construction on Diamond Harbor road or the extension of bridge no.4 connecting park circus to E.M Bypass or the road outside Nicco Park at sector IV, Salt Lake City, all have one factor in common: construction at a snail’s pace. As annoying as the delay in construction may pose for people who traverse on  those routes daily, what is more frightening is all the damage this delay is causing to the existing constructions.

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As the government negotiates terms of constructions and the contractors fight bankruptcy, the extended iron rods of existing construction stand astray bearing the scorching heat, torrential rain and the atmospheric oxygen; all the right recipes of rust.

On The Beacon questioning authorities and contractors about this issue simple grunts and whims of over concerns were cited. Other cooperative officers on assurance of anonymity did cite that often coatings of a special paint are given on extended rods on existing structures but if coated with ordinary paint hampers the bonding between the rods and concrete after construction. Agreed that these structures are constructed keeping in mind the ability to support at least one and a half times its prescribed limit, but these assumptions are made keeping in mind the textbook condition of the foundation rods, which in this particular case is highly debatable.

The average effective diameter of these rods are 4- 5 inches. Thin iron can rust through (get holes in it) faster than thick iron. The rusting rate may be the same, but it can be noticed sooner in thin metal sheeting than on a thick piece of iron because the former will have a hole in it sooner.

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As authorities play the never ending blame game for eons of postponement in building the structures, at the end of the day it is the ordinary tax payer who pays the price for it. On purchasing a car, one has to pay up for calamity tax, education cess, VAT, road tax. According to the rates, implemented through West Bengal Additional Road Tax (Amendment) Bill, for a car that costs Rs 10 lakh, the five-year tax is now, Rs 45,000. The lifetime tax will be Rs 1 lakh or 10% of the car’s price. At present, if people forget to pay the tax or accidentally miss the deadline, the penalty is 100%.

All this to drive your car on a bridge which took years for completion and probably has a rust causing cancer in it, and mind you, like cancer, even rust spreads.

 

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