Rabindra Sarani building tenants to approach Kolkata civic body for urgent repair
KOLKATA: Naresh Chandra Jain, a septuagenarian and a resident (tenant) of Mishra Bhawan, was born in the century-old palatial building that hit the headlines after the collapse of one of its balconies on Friday, killing two pedestrians.
This is the first time that Jain became scared. Like Jain, other tenants of the G+ 4 building located on some 20 bigha land on Rabindra Sarani too are scared and want to take corrective measures so that such accidents don’t recur.
According to Jain, at least 23 families staying there as tenants were willing to create a common fund for taking up urgent repair work of the sprawling mansion which has over 100 rooms. But, as the owners have shown no interest in either conducting a structural survey of the building or taking urgent repair work, the tenants have decided to approach the Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
“We are shaken by the collapse of the balcony yesterday that claimed two lives. We couldn’t even imagine that such a fatal accident would occur one day. Now we want to ensure the safety of our families,” said Atul Shah, a tenant of the building who has been a resident for the past 50 years.
However, the permission won’t come easily, felt Amit Gupta, another tenant of the building who is a private firm employee. “As the owners are not traceable, we can’t even pay our rent. But we pay property tax individually as tenants. Last year, we paid Rs 9 lakh to the KMC as property tax that had accumulated due to non-payment. Now if we are given a scope to conduct necessary repairs our families will feel safe,” said Gupta.
A Kolkata Municipal Corporation buildings department engineer who on Saturday went to survey the building’s condition said it was mandatory on part of the owners of the insecure buildings to conduct urgent repairs to prevent loss of lives. The KMC official said portions of Mishra Bhawan would be demolished to ensure safety of the tenants and pedestrians as the building is located at the intersection of Rabindra Sarani and M S Lane. The KMC building department on Saturday started demolition of an insecure building at Cotton Street.