Kolkata, India: Lack of detailed maps showing the layout of cables and pipes under the ground is delaying several big-ticket projects in Kolkata, India. Construction of flyovers on Vivekananda Road and between VIP Road and the EM Bypass, laying of drainage lines under the Calcutta Environmental Improvement Project (CEIP) and East-West Metro are some of the projects delayed by the absence of maps of underground utilities.
According to engineers, the maps that are available are not detailed enough. “The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) gave us a map of the brick sewer under Vivekananda Road. Many of the links to individual houses were not on the map,” said an engineer. “We had to dig trial trenches to locate the utilities under the ground before starting work. With a detailed underground utilities’ map in hand, we could have saved at least a month and a half,” added the engineer.
The CEIP project on Biren Roy Road (West) in Behala was “delayed by 18 months as the underground utility maps available did not have the required information. CESC gave us a detailed map of the high-tension line transmitting electricity between 6KV and 132KV. But the low-tension lines, between 220volt and 440volt, were not clearly shown. Similarly, we had no information about the water pipes under the road,” said a CEIP official.
“The problem is not new. When we had worked for the Metro Railway project in the 1980s, we didn’t get any underground utility map,” said an official of Afcons Infrastructure Ltd, which has bagged the work on the stretch between Central and Howrah Maidan stations.
The civic authorities admitted to the problem. The CMC had received a UK grant for its capacity building programme in 2006. “A part of the grant was for drawing a map of underground and other utilities using the GIS,” said a senior CMC official.