500 owners of dilapidated buildings get KMC notices
Kolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has given notices to owners of over 500 old and dilapidated buildings asking them to get the health of their houses checked up immediately.
The KMC has put up boards in front of buildings that are more than 50-year-old and not maintained properly asking their owners to get the health of the houses examined by empaneled structural engineers.
The KMC will wait for a month, failing which, the buildings will be acquired and handed over to builders who will pull down the structures to set up new ones with proper rehabilitation of owners and tenants. The KMC Act has been amended giving the civic authorities the power to take such a measure to save the lives of people who despite notices continue to live in these buildings. It may be mentioned that in the past one month, 10 people including three members of a family had died after portions of the old buildings they used to live in fell on them.
Senior KMC engineers said as these buildings have not been maintained properly, the waterproofing has gone and during monsoon, the roofs become heavy and cave in. As the weather office has predicted rain during the pujas, KMC officials have kept their fingers crossed hoping that no untoward incident will happen during the festive season.
There are more than 2,000 old and dilapidated buildings in the city. The KMC has declared more than 1,000 buildings as condemned but despite the notice, the owners and tenants continue to stay in them risking their lives.
Meanwhile, the association of house owners have planned to go to the court challenging the KMC's authority to take over ill-maintained houses and subsequently, handing them over to the builders who will pull them down to set up new structures. How the KMC can acquire a building that has not been maintained properly, asked a spokesperson for the house owners' association.
Senior civic officials said as the KMC has failed to vacate people from ill-maintained premises, it did not have any other alternative but to amend the KMC Act. While taking part in the debate when the Bill was passed in the Assembly some months ago, Mayor Sovan Chatterjee had said: "We cannot allow people who stay in old dilapidated buildings and those who use the pavements where the houses are situated to die and so the amendment has been tabled."