City mayor Firhad Hakim has said Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) will not be allowed to demolish damaged buildings or remove debris from Bowbazar area till it submits a land stability certificate of the central Kolkata locality to the civic body. Several houses at Bowbazar have either collapsed or developed cracks due to tunnel boring work for the East-West Metro corridor by the KMRC, leading to the evacuation of over 400 people.
"Until and unless they (KMRC officials) provide us (Kolkata Municipal Corporation) with land stability certificate from a recognized organization, we will not permit them to remove debris or commence demolition of the buildings. Till then, there is no question of reconstructing the houses," Hakim told reporters at the state secretariat on Thursday.
Hakim, also the state's urban development minister, held a meeting of the core committee, formed to look into developments arising out of the incident of subsidence and cracks in the buildings. "If we permit them to demolish houses or remove the debris, laborers would have to go inside. And if any building collapses then and they get killed, who will be responsible for that?" he said.
The minister said KMRC officials have told the state government that they have sought the advice of international experts to arrest the ground subsidence. "The KMC's building department is conducting surveys of every house in the area. The KMRC officials are also visiting every house to check on the damages," he said.
Hakim said the former residents of the collapsed buildings will have to lodge FIRs regarding their important documents, such as Aadhaar and voter cards and bank papers, which went missing during the incident. Several buildings at Durga Pituri Lane and Syakra Para Lane collapsed or developed cracks on August 31, when an aquifer broke during tunnel boring work and water and silt gushed in, leading to a severe ground loss in the vicinity. The residents had to evacuate the buildings in haste, leaving behind their belongings, identification documents among other things.
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