Millennium Post

Councillors to persuade owners, tenants to demolish such structures

Kolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has proposed to utilise the Councillors and officials to persuade the owners and tenants of old and dilapidated buildings to get them demolished and construct new ones in their places, Mayor Sovan Chatterjee said on Wednesday.
It may be recalled that a century-old building on Shibtala Street in Burrabazar collapsed on Tuesday killing three members of a family.
Speaking at the monthly meeting, Chatterjee proposed to set up a committee headed by a member, Mayor-in-Council, comprising Councillors, Chairmen of borough committees and borough officials. Out of 16 boroughs in the city, old and dilapidated buildings are situated mainly in five boroughs.
These are: borough I,II,III, VII and IX. Chatterjee sought the cooperation of all the Councillors across party line to identify old and dilapidated buildings.
Chatterjee said KMC had given notices to the owners of old buildings declaring them as "condemned." But despite that the residents continued to stay there.
"On humanitarian ground we could not evict them. But now the Act has come and we seek cooperation of the owners and tenants so that the old dilapidated structures can be pulled down and new buildings can come up in their places with rehabilitation of the owners and tenants.
The KMC has put up billboards all over the city seeking cooperation of the owners and tenants of ill maintained structures."
Though the subject of old building was not there in the agenda of the monthly meeting, in view of its urgency, the matter came up for discussion.
It was decided that the Councillors will take the leading role to convince the owners and tenants of old buildings to pull them down and build new houses in their place.
The KMC will expedite issuing of notices to the owners of old and dilapidated buildings. There are over 2,000 such structures in the city. The KMC is also identifying old and ill maintained buildings where the owners cannot be traced. In such cases, the civic authorities will speak to the tenants.
According to the new Act, if the owner fail to repair old buildings, KMC will acquire them and hand them over to builders who will construct new structures with proper rehabilitation of the owners and the tenants.
KMC has also asked the owners of buildings that are more than 40 years old, to get the health of the structures tested by empanelled structural engineers.
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