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KMC summons owners of 45 old, dilapidated buildings

Kolkata: the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has given notices to the owners of 45 old, dilapidated and dangerous buildings, asking them to come for a hearing. There are around 1,000 such buildings in the city.
At the hearing, the owners will be requested to pull down the structures to make room for new ones with proper rehabilitation of tenants. The owners will get additional Floor-Area Ratio (FAR). If the owners fail to comply, KMC will auction the buildings and give them to private builders who will construct the houses and will rehabilitate the owners and tenants.
The KMC had amended its Act in 2017, incorporating this provision. Senior civic officials said some owners are attending the hearing and four owners have agreed to KMC's proposal. They will pull down the old structures and construct new houses with proper rehabilitation of tenants.
The officials said this is the only way to save the old structures. KMC has set up a committee with the Joint Municipal Commissioner at its head. The borough executive engineers have been asked to spot the buildings and bring them to KMC's notice.
The civic officials said KMC has identified over 2,000 buildings that are dilapidated and asked the inmates to vacate the premises. But ignoring KMC's order, they continue to stay in these houses. In 2017, 25 people who used to stay in dilapidated houses despite KMC's warnings, died after portions of the structures fell on them.
The officials maintained that in North and South Kolkata, there are buildings which have not been repaired for the past five decades. KMC has issued notices, asking the owners of buildings that are more than 50 years old to get the health of the structures examined by enlisted structural engineers.
Most of these houses have tenants and the monthly rent is so small that the owners are unable to repair them. In many cases, the tenants are depositing monthly rent in Rent Control because of court cases. In many buildings, KMC has failed to spot the owners.
In most of these cases, the buildings were given to their mistresses as gifts by the owners who died many years ago. Over the years, the buildings have been encroached upon and these buildings are "nobody's property."
KMC is trying to find out ways and means to tackle such buildings which have become threats. Most of these buildings are situated along river Hooghly in North and South Kolkata.

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