On the 10th of July 2016, we had published an article warning our readers about the perils of mastic asphalt surfaces that was being laid on the Darjeeling roads. After accidents exponentially increased in Sukna, we conducted some basic research and came to realize that Mastic Asphalt was actually very dangerous, especially in a hilly terrain like Darjeeling. Once we came to realize its danger, we had passed on the information to the then district authorities.
On 16th of July 2016 when the cavalcade of Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee met with an accident near Kurseong, we had again raised the issue about the perils of mastic asphalt surfaces.
Recently, the Chief Secretary, Govt of West Bengal has conveyed the news that the WB government has banned mastic asphalt in building or repairing roads in Calcutta and other urban centres after it emerged that the surfacing material is often used to cover up low-quality stretches
“No major city in developed countries uses mastic asphalt for urban roads. The material is not used even on national highways. Use of mastic asphalt has several hazards and the state government wants to get rid of these,” the chief secretary was quoted as saying at the meeting.
This is precisely what we had written about back in 2016.
We are glad that the Government of West Bengal is finally awakening to the risk posed by mastic surface. Concrete roads for the hills would be the best solution, it has proven to be durable and resilient – provided contractors do not gobble up funds.