Kidderpore: Calcutta Port Trust will be closing one of its docks for around two months to repair a lock gate, forcing major diversions in river and road traffic in and around Kidderpore, Garden Reach and Metiabruz.
Kidderpore Dock, which has 18 berths and three dry docks, will be shut from August 28 till further notice. Incoming and outbound vessels will anchor at Netaji Subhas Dock, about a kilometre further south from the city.
Lock gates are used in ports to hold up the water level during low tide so that cargo can be transferred between a vessel and the shore. In the absence of a lock gate, the water level will fluctuate depending on the tide, causing problems in handling heavy cargo.
All 18 berths at Kidderpore Dock are located behind the lock gate there.
S. Balaji Arunkumar, the deputy chairman of the port trust, said every effort would be made to complete repairing the lock gate within 60 days to minimise traffic disruption. “Repairs were long overdue. The last time the lock was changed was 10 years ago. This is a preventive measure before the lock fails,” he told Metro.
An emergency gate will be in place before the lock gate is taken out to the dry dock for repairs as part of the Rs 2.15 crore maintenance project.
Kidderpore Dock usually handles cargo and passenger ships bound for the Andamans. Barges also come from the sandheads on the Bay of Bengal or Diamond Harbour.
Cargo handling at the dock mostly comprises pulses, timber, sand, wheat and rice, besides some amount of container items. Between the two positions within Calcutta’s dock system, Netaji Subhas Dock handles the lion’s share of cargo traffic.
The port trust will regulate movement of cargo and ships to avoid long pre-berthing detention on the Hooghly river channel during the duration of the closure, an official said.
Passengers travelling to the Andamans will be transferred to the Netaji Subhas Dock by the port trust or the Shipping Corporation of India during the two months that Kidderpore Dock won’t function.
The stretch of water under the bascule bridge – the more prevalent name for a drawbridge – is part of Kidderpore Dock. There is a gate near the bridge that passengers use to get on board Andamans-bound ships.
Officials of the port trust and city police met on Saturday to discuss a traffic diversion plan focused on managing the increased flow of trucks towards Netaji Subhas Dock.
“The pressure of vehicles on the route to Netaji Subhas Dock is going to rise manifold. We have asked the port authorities to try and make sure that a long queue of trucks does not form on the road outside the gates. A queue there will have a ripple effect on traffic elsewhere,” a police officer said.
Netaji Subhas Dock has nine gates across Circular Garden Reach Road, Nimak Mahal Road and Garden Reach Road. The gates start from near the ITC factory. Most of these gates are on Circular Garden Reach Road, which is also called Karl Marx Sarani.
Someone going to Garden Reach from Kidderpore via Circular Garden Reach Road will have to first cross the gates to Kidderpore Dock before passing by those of Netaji Subhas Dock.
“If snarls occur on Circular Garden Reach Road, commuters going towards and coming from Garden Reach and Metiabruz will suffer. Efficient management of trucks and containers going into or coming out of Netaji Subhas Dock is necessary,” the officer said.