Mayor Sovan Chatterjee on Wednesday stopped the construction of a multi-storeyed building that was coming up on a reclaimed land at 232, Picnic Garden Road. He instructed the Municipal Commissioner Khalil Ahmed to take necessary steps against the owner. An FIR was lodged against the owner of the plot.
On receiving complaints, the Building department of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) conducted an inquiry and found that the structure was coming up without any sanctioned plan. The owner had filled up a water body covering an area of 20 cottahs. The piling work has been completed and construction was being carried out in full swing.
Local people alleged that the builder who was in league with a Trinamool Congress leader had filled up the water body. Those who tried to protest were threatened with dire consequences. The pond was filled up with garbage and rubbish. Filling up operation was carried out round the clock. The piling work started only after the entire pond was filled up.
The plot has been recorded as a pond in KMC’s register. Local people alleged that despite repeated complaints, the borough office did not take any action and allowed the pond to be filled up. The Mayor said that an inquiry would be conducted and stern action would be taken against civic officials who would be found guilty. He said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said over and again that no water body would be filled up to make room for construction.
Vast areas surrounding Picnic Garden had become a den of unauthorised construction during the Left Front regime. Many ponds were filled up and hundreds of houses came up without any sanctioned plan. The builders had connection with the local committee of CPI(M) and two powerful leaders of the Kolkata district Committee of the party had reportedly backed the builders.
Party offices came up on the pavement without any sanctioned plan. The then Mayor Prasanta Chatterjee and then Mayor in council in charge of building Sunil Chakraborty had tried to pull down the unauthorised constructions including the illegally built party offices. But both were restrained from taking action.
After coming to power in 2010, Sovan Chatterjee launched a movement against illegal constructions and actions were taken against builders. The KMC amended laws making them more owner-friendly to stop illegal construction.