Millennium Post

2 'old and dilapidated' houses to be pulled down, tenants rehabilitated

Kolkata: The owners of two "old and dilapidated" buildings in Central Kolkata have agreed to pull down the structures to make room for new ones with proper rehabilitation of the tenants.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) had issued show-cause notices to the owners of the buildings asking them to get the health of the houses examined by structural engineers. They were given 15 days' time failing which the civic authorities had the power to auction them and hand them over to the builders who would have constructed new buildings with proper rehabilitation of the owners and tenants.
The KMC gave a patient hearing to both the owners and the tenants. The owners have submitted plans for the proposed building. There are over 1,000 old and dilapidated buildings in North, Central and parts of South Kolkata under the jurisdiction of Boroughs II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and , IX.
These buildings have not been repaired for the past five decades and are occupied by tenants. The KMC had declared these buildings as condemned where people still continue to reside.
As many as 20 people among those who resided in the old and dilapidated buildings died in 2017 after parts of the buildings fell on them. As the structures have not been repaired for ages, the waterproofing system on the roofs has been destroyed, said senior civic officials. During monsoon, the roofs get filled with water which adds more weight to the building. As a result, unable to bear the additional weight, the roofs collapsed leading to the death of the inhabitants.
To counter this menace, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2017, was passed unanimously in the West Bengal legislature Assembly on March 10. The Bill which later became an Act on getting assent of the Governor empowers the KMC to auction the old structures where the owners refuse to maintain them. The builders will rehabilitate the owners and the tenants.
Under Section 143 of the KMC Act, structural engineers can be engaged to examine the health of the building. Under Section 412A, the owners can pull down the structures with proper rehabilitation of tenants and Section 142 of Building Rules, 2009 allows the owners to enjoy 100 percent space of the tenant-occupied portion.
The KMC has set up a six- member committee under the Joint Municipal Commissioner to examine old and dilapidated buildings. The other members are Director Generals Town and Planning and Building (I and II), Chief Municipal Law Officer and two officers from Finance and Audit department. The Borough executive engineers will identify the buildings which the committee will examine.
The civic officials said the owners of the old and dilapidated buildings will approach the KMC with a proposal to pull down the structures with proper rehabilitation of the tenants.
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