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After recent spate of illegal building collapses, KMC talks tough

Kolkata: The building department of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has taken a tough stand against any illegal construction in the city. The move on the part of the civic body has come after it has been brought to their notice that a number of buildings that had collapsed recently was due to illegal structures that were built for expansion.
A senior official in the building department said in less than three months, the civic body has pulled down illegal constructions of more than
50 such buildings where the owners had undertaken such construction keeping KMC in the dark.
In a number of cases of razing of illegal structures, the KMC had applied Section 408 of KMC Building Rules 2009 which empowers the civic body to demolish such structures without slapping any notice to owners. "If we believe that any illegal construction is of immediate concern for society and the public, Section 408 can be applied but the matter needs to be passed in the Member Mayor-in-Council's (MMiC) meeting," an official said.
Mayor Sovan Chatterjee has himself led from the front in pulling down an illegal construction by applying Section 408 of the Building Rules at Parnasree Pally under ward 130. The construction was undertaken in a five-storeyed building by a lady who is learnt to be close to the Mayor's wife.
Chatterjee chaired the MMiC meeting on Thursday that passed the order under Section 408 and gave directions to Director General Building for razing the unauthorised construction. Another building at 21/1, Mandeville Gardens in Gariahat, was also pulled down.
"We have been usually following Section 401 of the KMC Building Rules 2009. We slap a notice to the owner who is involved in such illegal construction and then conduct a hearing and accordingly proceed for action. This is a time consuming process. However, soon after the departure of the monsoon season, the Mayor had instructed us to take a tough stand. This has resulted in pulling down more than 50 such buildings with illegal construction in less than three months' time," a senior official of the building department said. It may be mentioned that the building that collapsed at 60 Pathuriaghata Street on November 21 was having an unauthorised construction in the form of an illegal structure on the terrace.
The additional construction without consulting a structural engineer had paved the way for the collapse.
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