Ensure safety of Bowbazar residents: CM urges cops
Kolkata: A day when 20 more houses in Bowbazar were declared unsafe, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed the police administration to coordinate with the officials of the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL), the implementing agency of the East-West Metro project officials, to ensure the safety of those living there.
Banerjee enquired about the Bowbazar incident from Deputy Commissioner (Central) Sudheer Kumar Neelakantam about the present situation at the state Assembly and gave necessary instructions to ensure that residents are taken to safer shelters and houses are evacuated if required. Since Saturday evening, scores of houses in Bowbazar area have developed cracks and several have been severely damaged with parts of the buildings caving in. A portion of some houses reportedly caved in on Wednesday morning as well.
A core group, headed by Chief Secretary Malay De that has been formed to supervise the situation, will hold a meeting at Nabanna on Thursday to decide rehabilitation and compensation of the affected persons.
Metro Railway general manager and four representatives of the affected families and traders who are part of the core group will attend the meeting. Banerjee, in a high-level meeting at Nabanna on Tuesday, had asked the KMRCL to pay an interim compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the affected families.
"We have informed the KMRCL not to take up any work for the demolition of the heavily damaged buildings at this juncture with the land underneath becoming unstable. We cannot risk the lives of the workers undertaking the demolition work at this point as chances of building collapse cannot be ruled out. They (KMRCL) have consulted experts and under their instructions, work for the land stability is going on. When experts certify that the land has become stable, only then we will give the nod for demolition," Mayor Firhad Hakim said.
He has also instructed officials of the Buildings department to visit the site and keep a tab on the situation.
A family member each of the affected buildings were allowed to go into their residences on Wednesday and bring out their belongings. The residents were evacuated on an emergency basis in the wee hours on Sunday for security concerns and some of them had to leave back necessary articles of use inside their houses.
Bharat Soni, who owns a jewellery shop at Syakra Para Lane, was compelled to leave ornaments and cash inside his shop. "I was extremely worried with so many things inside my house. I was allowed 10 minutes and have managed to bring them out," he added. Soni is among the 10 odd residents who were given the nod to bring out their belongings.
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