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Century-old dilapidated building collapses, tenants escape grim fate

Kolkata: The tenants of a century-old dangerous and dilapidated building had a providential escape when a portion of the structure collapsed late on Monday night.
The police and personnel of the Fire and Emergency Services and Disaster Management rescued the tenants who had been trapped inside debris. The building has been evacuated. Senior officials of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) visited the site and said that the structure may collapse at any moment. The building was declared "dangerous structure," but despite that, tenants continue to live in it, risking their lives.
The police said around midnight on Monday, a portion of the third floor toilet and balcony of the old building at 2, Babulal Lane caved in. Alerted by the loud noise, local people rushed to the spot and found that the collapsed portion of the building had blocked the staircase.
The tenants who got trapped inside the house screamed for help. Local people informed the police and fire brigade. Fire brigade personnel, along with their counterparts in Disaster Management, extricated the tenants. No one was injured.
The building housed 15 families and godowns on the ground floor. The tenants alleged that despite requests, the owner did not repair the building. The police could not trace the owner.
Senior civic officials said the building had not been repaired for decades. As a result, the waterproofing on the roof had become ineffective and the rainwater pipes got clogged. As there was heavy rain on Saturday and Sunday, rain water got accumulated on the roof. As a result, the roof became heavy and collapsed. It may be mentioned that in 2017, 20 residents who used to stay in old dilapidated buildings, died after portions of the structures fell on them.
KMC has identified 100 old, dangerous and dilapidated buildings and asked their owners to get them repaired. Some owners have agreed to pull down the structures to make room for new ones with proper rehabilitation of tenants. KMC recently cleared the building plan submitted by one such owner.
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