Mamata visits Bowbazar, to hold meeting today on rehabilitation for residents
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday visited the site in Bowbazar where a number of buildings have suffered severe damage and portions of a few of them have collapsed due to underground tunneling work of the East-West Metro project.
"We will hold a high-level meeting on Tuesday at Nabanna and will work out a mechanism to ensure that the residents who have been temporarily shifted to hotels in and around the area do not suffer. A number of people were compelled to vacate the building on an emergency basis and had to leave their articles of daily use including identity documents in their houses. We will discuss in length along with Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation Ltd (KMRCL) and concerned officials of the state government from Transport, Fire and Disaster Management so that we can jointly work for assisting the people affected by the mishap," Banerjee said.
The Chief Minister spoke with the affected residents of Durga Pithuri Lane and Syakra Para Lane and came to know that some of them had to leave behind things like utensils, books including school books and most importantly, identity documents like Aadhaar card, voter card etc. as they were told to vacate the buildings on an urgent basis.
"We will hold special camps for handing over such documents to the affected people. KMRCL has the list of the residents who had to be shifted for the incident. Some of them pleaded to go inside the vacated buildings to take some of their belongings. But I have told them that they should not risk their lives by entering the buildings at this juncture," said Banerjee, adding that 375 residents have been shifted as of now.
She lauded the coordinated efforts of Kolkata Police, disaster management, KMRCL and other agencies who have ensured zero injury or casualty in the incident.
"At present the residents have been shifted to hotels but I have asked the KMRCL authorities to shift the residents to some flats or apartments. The process of demolishing or repairing the affected buildings will take time and the residents cannot be kept in hotels for many days," Mayor Firhad Hakim said.
Metro engineers opined that the tunnel boring machine had apparently hit a sand aquifer, an underground layer of water-bearing sand, resulting in massive unsettlement. This led to water accumulation inside the tunnel, causing cracks in the buildings. Since Sunday night, officials of KMRCL have started the work for cement grouting in the hollow spaces that have developed due to water seeping inside the Metro tunnel. The purpose is to mix this chemical mixed concrete so that the soil underneath is strengthened.
"We have summoned geophysiologists from Delhi who will examine the nature of damage and cracks and submit a report. The work for tunnel boring has been stopped and both the ends of the tunnel have been sealed," a senior KMRCL official said.