Thursday, June 30

Kolkata: Drive to raze unsafe buildings to pick up pace this month

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Prodded by mayor Firhad Hakim, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) buildings department officials have come up with a borough-wise list of highly insecure buildings across the city for demolition as these structures may crumble during monsoon endangering lives of residents.

According to a KMC buildings department official, the demolition drive had already started in some boroughs based on calls received by Hakim during his interactive sessions with citizens on phone over the past four weeks.

“We have already visited some areas and taken stock of the dilapidated buildings, parts of which need to be razed. In some cases, we have pulled down highly hazardous parts of the buildings under our special drive before and during monsoon,” said a civic official.

Sources said some of the areas where the civic body has already conducted a demolition drive include Sovabazar, Bentinck Street, Bansdroni and Lenin Sarani. “We have pulled down highly insecure parts of at least eight unsafe buildings in the past one month. This month is going to be very crucial as the vulnerable buildings will be more prone to collapse after spells of heavy showers. Now, we need to demolish as many buildings as possible in a short span of time,” a KMC buildings department official said.

A civic official conceded that the task of demolishing unsafe houses or parts of them would be an uphill task. “We need to be selective in demolition of insecure buildings or highly dilapidated parts of these buildings. We have identified 2,500 buildings across the city as insecure. Of them, condition of over 300 buildings is pathetic and need urgent attention. But, we did not have the infrastructure or time to raze so many hazardous buildings before monsoon. So, we have identified extremely vulnerable buildings and will pull down parts of them in next one month,” said a KMC official.

A section of KMC buildings department officials are extremely worried over several highly dilapidated buildings in areas such as Burrabazar, Chitpore, M G Road, APC Roy Road, B B Ganguli Street, Lenin Sarani, S N Banerjee Road, Elliot Road, Tiljala, Bhowanipore and Kidderpore.

“We have been striving hard to vacate a number of buildings in large areas of central Kolkata that include S N Banerjee Road, B B Ganguli Street, Lenin Sarani, Taltala, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road, Elliot Road and Ripon Street among other areas. But owing to resistance from a section of tenants we could not demolish parts of these buildings which pose a threat to inmates’ safety,” said a KMC official. However, the civic body was determined to pull down some parts of these buildings with the help of police, the official added.


Source: Times of India

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