Kolkata civic body postpones demolition plan of five-storey building in Garden Reach

March 26, 2024

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KOLKATA: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) on Sunday had to postpone a planned demolition of a damaged five-storey building in Garden Reach, next to the illegal one that crashed on the intervening midnight of last Sunday and Monday killing 12 people, in the face of stiff resistance from residents, who refused to move out without getting alternative lodging, and details of rehabilitation plans.

KMC had decided to bring down the building after it was severely damaged in the impact of the crash.

After trying in vain to convince the occupants and locals about the need to demolish the building, KMC officials had to call off the drive for the day and reschedule it to later this month.

The building on J-560/D Azhar Molla Bagan Lane is one of the 16 unsafe structures in the area that KMC had identified in a survey after last week’s tragedy. This building, in fact, was the most vulnerable, the survey found, civic sources said.

There are 12 apartments in the building, each occupied by a family.

“We had sent notice to the building’s residents well in advance, making it clear to them that the unsafe portions of the building had to be razed down immediately to ensure safety of residents and of others living in the narrow, dingy lane. But as we went there to raze the structure, the residents and others living nearby suddenly turned hostile, refusing to allow the workers to start the demolition. We had no option but to turn back and call off the drive for the day,” said a KMC official.

Can’t allow razing without clear idea about rehab

A KMC notice was pasted on the building’s doors and walls on Tuesday morning, the day after the collapse.

After all bodies were extracted and demolition of the collapsed structure was under way, officials realized if they used heavy machinery to clear the debris, the tilted building could collapse any moment. It was then decided to raze it. Accordingly, the KMC’s buildings department made an elaborate plan for its demolition, and a team of workers and officials from headquarters and borough XV was sent to the site on Sunday morning to demolish it.

“We tried in vain to convince the residents that staying on in that particular building was no longer safe. But the majority of the residents are not prepared to shift elsewhere. They have started demanding a proper rehabilitation before leaving their flats. The issue has gone out of our hands,” said a buildings department official who was assigned to oversee the work.

TOI spoke to residents of the building. They said although they had shifted to relatives’ homes immediately after the collapse and hadn’t objected to KMC sealing their building and pasting a notice, they had the right to know KMC’s rehabilitation plans for them.

Councillor Shams Iqbal rushed to the spot and spoke with KMC officials and locals. While he did not respond to calls or texts by TOI, a close aide said a decision had been taken to shift the families to a community hall in Ramnagar for now before temporarily allowing them flats at a new six-storey building in the neighbourhood.

Property registrations up 64% year-on-year in Kolkata in February 2024

The bouncing back of sales in the affordable home sector has contributed significantly to this growth. While there was a time lag between property sales and registrations earlier, they happen almost simultaneously now to avail of the 2% stamp duty cut benefit.

  • Published On Mar 26, 2024 at 12:00 PM IST

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