Within 24 hours after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered to take action against illegal construction of buildings, Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) has decided to pull down all illegal shops which are mushroomed in and around the market, commonly known as Howrah Haat, in the busiest area in the district.
Nilanjan Chattopadhyay, commissioner of the civic body, said that a drive would be taken up on Thursday to shut down illegal shops. The plan is complete the entire task in a single day, and in case it remains incomplete employees of HMC will also be working on Friday.
It may be mentioned that many shops had mushroomed in the market illegally in the past few decades. The owners of the illegal installations did not took any initiative on their own to remove the shops or try to legalise them, despite notice were being served repeated times.
Howrah Mayor Rathin Chakraborty and Chattopadhyay were present in the meeting headed by the Chief Minister in Nabanna on Tuesday. Representatives of other corporations were also present at the meeting.
Sources said that a high level was convened by the Mayor on Tuesday evening after returning from Nabanna, where it was decided to take stringent action against those have set up their shops illegally in the market.
The shops, most of which are owned by garment traders, were set up flouting building norms and it led to narrowing of the entry and exit passages in the market. At the same time, chances of untoward incidents, like spreading of fire, have also gone up and any day it may lead to a disaster, an official of the HMC said.
“Hundreds of people visit the market everyday and transactions worth crores of rupees take place on a regular basis. However, there is not enough space for people to exit the market quickly, in case of an emergency or an untoward incident, which may finally lead to a stampede,” said the official, adding that HMC has decided to take immediate and stringent action to solve the longstanding problem.
Senior officials of the civic body held a meeting with the Commissioner of Police (Howrah) DP Singh Wednesday morning in this connection. It is learnt that there will be necessary arrangements to avoid any law and order trouble when engineers and other officials of HMC will begin the shutting down of illegal structures.
It may be recalled that after the change of the guard in the state in 2011, Howrah city police had taken a major step and stopped setting up of stalls on every Tuesday on the flyover which connects Howrah Station with Howrah Maidan. The move helped to ease out traffic congestion in the area.