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KMC pulls down century-old building in city

tKolkata: In a major move the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) on Wednesday pulled down a century-old "dangerous and dilapidated" building in Central Kolkata.
The civic authorities had earlier identified the building as dilapidated and requested the residents to vacate the premises. But despite the KMC notice, the residents continued to stay in the house. It had also put up a notice in front of the house.
KMC usually does not pull down old structures that are occupied on humanitarian grounds and requests the residents to repair them. But the requests only evoke lukewarm responses.
The residents continue to stay in the old houses and KMC is blamed when portions of these houses collapse. In 2017, as many as 22 people who used to live in old dilapidated and dangerous houses, had died.
As monsoon poses a serious threat to these structures, the Building department of KMC had decided to demolish these houses.
A KMC team led by the senior officials of the Building department and demolition workers began pulling down the old tenanted house on Rani Rashmoni Road.
The building, not repaired for the past 50 years or more, was occupied by tenants who pay monthly rent that vary between Rs 25 to Rs 50 per month. The owner said that it is not possible for him to repair the building with this amount.
Senior civic officials said around 2,000 buildings have been identified, which are dangerous and dilapidated. The civic authorities have failed to identify the owners of some of these houses.
"The problem lies with the houses where the ownership is not known. The tenants had trespassed the houses and are not paying any rent," they said.
On March 10, 2017, the Bengal Legislative Assembly had unanimously passed The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, which gives KMC the power to auction a building, pull it down and construct a new one with proper rehabilitation of the
tenants, where the owners
have failed to repair the structures.
KMC had put up billboards all over the city, requesting the owners of buildings that are more than 50 years old, to examine the health of the structures by an empanelled structural engineer.
Senior civic officials said some owners of old buildings have shown interest in pulling down the houses with proper rehabilitation of the tenants.
"We cannot allow inmates of old dilapidated buildings to die every year. We will continue to pull down these structures for the safety and security of the occupants of the adjacent buildings," a senior civic official said.
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