Three of family die as portion of century-old building caves-in
Kolkata: A two-storeyed building, which was declared dangerous by civic authorities, collapsed in the densely-populated Burrabazar area of north Kolkata on Tuesday, killing three members of a family.
A portion of the building on Shibtala Street collapsed at around 11 am trapping Taraprasanna Saha (94), his wife Sovarani (84) and their 56-year-old daughter Beauty Ray.
Locals rushed to their rescue and pulled them out of the rubble. All three were rushed to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, where Taraprasanna was declared dead on arrival. His wife and daughter died a few hours after being admitted to the hospital.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) had declared the building as condemned but they ignored the order and continued to stay on in the century-old structure.
The portion that collapsed had not been repaired for decades. Attracted by a loud noise, locals rushed to the site and found that the residents were trapped under the rubbles. On being informed, the police and fire fighters arrived at the spot. The police cordoned off the entire area and fire fighters extricated the injured persons.
Describing the incident as "unfortunate," Mayor Sovan Chatterjee said those who died in Tuesday's incident had agreed to pull down the structure to make room for a new one. Smita Bakshi, TMC MLA from Jorasanko, said despite repeated requests, the family continued to stay there. The civic employees of Conservancy department started to clear the debris from Tuesday afternoon.
Senior civic officials said the month of monsoon is a serious threat to old buildings that have not be repaired for decades.
Water proofing of roofs which have not been maintained get totally destroyed. This happened in Tuesday's incident.
It may be recalled that around 14 people died in the past one year when portions of old buildings they used to stay in collapsed. There are more than 2,000 that have been declared "dangerous and dilapidated" by the KMC.
It may be mentioned that the latter has recently taken a unique scheme to help owners and tenants of old structures that have not been repaired for many years to pull down the old structure and construct a new one where both the owners and tenants will be rehabilitated.