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No festive joy for homeless Bowbazar residents

Kolkata: At a time when the city of joy is about to soak in the festive mood of Vishwakarma Puja on Wednesday, the homeless residents of Bowbazar, whose houses were damaged due to East-West metro construction work, have no scope to celabrate the puja.

"We will not celebrate Vishwakarma puja this year. Our snacks shop at B B Ganguly Street is closed since September 1," said Rimpa Das, a resident of 252 Bowbazar, who is now staying at a hotel.

Rimpa's family includes her father, mother and sister. Her parents run Namita snacks shop, also known as Boudi's Kochori, is famous among the locals.

"In a bid to celebrate any puja, we require money. We don't have money to buy idols and other things required at the time of performing rituals. Our snacks shop is the only source of income. We sell Singhara, jelabi and tea," said Rimpa, with tears in her eyes.

On being asked whether any friend or relative has invited her for Vishwakarma Puja, Rimpa said: "I have received an invitation from a friend. But I am not sure whether I will go or not because my father is not going."

"There is no scope for us to organise Vishwakarma Puja this year. More than two weeks ago our jewellery manufacturing unit was closed. Our business is running at 100 % loss," said Buddhadeb Dhar, who runs a jewellery manufacturing unit at 95 B B Ganguly Street.

He reiterated that 18 gold ornament showrooms located on the road facing the tram line are now open.

However, most of the gold ornament manufacturing units inside the lanes and bylanes of Syakra Para Lane, Durga Pithuri Lane and Gour De Lane are still closed.

While the KMRCL has identified 35 buildings in Bowbazar which are beyond repair, 20 similiar buildings in dilapidated condition will soon be razed to the ground.

According to senior civic officials, the buildings are more than 100 years old and have not been repaired for the past 50 years or more.

The jewellery industry in Bowbazar stares at an uncertain future. The All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) would prepare a list of the artisans who have been hit and will submit it to KMRCL seeking for some compensation.

"The jewellery shops are located on the main stretch of Bipin Behari Ganguly Street but the workshops of the karigars associated with the making of the jewellery as per orders of these shops in and around Durga Pituri Lane, Syakra Para Lane , Gour Dey. Lane that have been affected About 350 such karigars working in 85 workshops located in this area are now at a complete loss as they have been asked not to go and work in the workshops," said Bablu De, working president of Swarna Silpa Bachao Committee.

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