Owners can pull down old buildings only after rehabilitating tenants: KMC

Kolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will allow the owners of old "dilapidated and dangerous" buildings to pull down the structures and make room for new ones after they agree to rehabilitate the tenants.
There are over 2,000 dilapidated buildings in the city of which 150 are both dilapidated and dangerous. Earlier, the KMC used to issue notices to the owners of these buildings and put up boards declaring the structure as "dangerous." But this failed to evoke any response and ignoring the KMC's notices, the owners and the tenants continued to live there risking their lives. It may be mentioned that 20 residents of such buildings have died in 2017 after portions of the structure fell on them. Finding no other option, the KMC moved an amendment in the Assembly which was unanimously passed in March. The Act empowered the KMC to take over the buildings whose owners refused to repair them and then construct a new house in its place with the proper rehabilitation of tenants.
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Accordingly, the KMC gave notices to the owners of dangerous and dilapidated buildings and asked them to reply within 15 days. On getting the notice, around 40 owners approached the KMC including the one who has got the permission.
The KMC gave a patient hearing to the owner and the tenants and both agreed to follow the KMC's norms. The tenanted building has not been repaired for over the past 50 years and is in real bad shape.
The tenants stayed in that house risking their lives. Senior civic officials said many owners would agree to pull down the old structure and construct new ones. The owners will get additional Floor Area Ratio (FAR).
Civic officials said most of the dangerous and dilapidated buildings are located in South and North Kolkata respectively and problems lie with those structures where the owners cannot be traced. Many of these buildings have monthly rent less than Rs 50 and in many houses, the tenants are depositing the rent in the court.
"But as these structures pose a serious threat to the lives of the residents as well as those who walk on the pavement, the KMC authorities want them to be pulled down at the earliest," an official stated.