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Kolkata 3-storey Building Collapses Days After Residents Evacuated Due to Cracks from Metro Work

Kolkata 3-storey Building Collapses Days After Residents Evacuated Due to Cracks from Metro Work

There have been no reports of casualties as the occupants of the building, which was also a workshop for gold jewellery, were already shifted on Monday to nearby hotels by the local administration.

Kolkata: A three-storey building collapsed in central Kolkata’s Bowbazar area on Tuesday a day after cracks appeared on it following faulty tunnel boring work for the East-West Metro corridor.

News18 had reported on Monday that the residents of the area have been grappling with the cracks that have appeared in several buildings in the Durga Pituri lane in the wake of the underground East-West Metro Railway corridor construction. The three-storey building is one of the many buildings that the residents had complained about.

There have been no reports of casualties as the occupants of the building, which was also a workshop for gold jewellery, were already shifted on Monday to nearby hotels by the local administration.

However, all belongings of the residents and the businessmen were inside the building when it collapsed. Soon after the incident, an agitated crowd gathered in the area and slammed the police for not allowing them to take their valuables with them at the time of shifting.

Bowbazar is known as Kolkata’s jewellery hub and several shops in the affected zone have had to down shutters for the past few days. Ahead of the festive season, the loss in business seemed to be the last thing in the shop owners’ mind.

People raised slogans against the Metro Rail authorities for negligence on their part. They alleged cracks are appearing in their buildings due to the tunnel boring work for East-West Metro corridor which is underway in the area.

Owners of the jewellery shops were seen crying and pleading with the local administration to allow them to get their belongings from under the rubble.

“Sir, please allow us to remove our items. I had a Gold jewellery workshop inside the building. If it is lost then we will die. We will not be able to survive. Let us die while removing our items,” Santosh Karmakar, one of the goldsmiths, was heard pleading before the police.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has called an emergency meeting in the wake of the mishap.

On Sunday, over 20 century-old buildings developed cracks more than 350 residents from the affected area were evacuated and shifted to nearby hotels. But restrictions on them to revisit their homes and retrieve essentials and valuables have led to large-scale disappointment and frustration.

Meanwhile, tunnel construction at the Metro project has been brought to a complete halt, while engineers grappled with the job of ensuring that no further damage is caused to the upper layer of soil whose movement has shaken the foundation of at least 18 buildings and already partially affected many other establishments in the locality.

Residents of the lane have complained that the metro rail officials did not undertake a proper scientific survey of the houses before carrying out the underground tunnel work for the project, which will connect Esplanade with Sealdah.

According to the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL), problem started when underground water suddenly gushed in to the tunnel and the soil above became loose, leading to cracks in the buildings causing severe problem for the residents.

A large contingent of Kolkata Police, KMC officials, fire and disaster management officials were deployed in the area for rescue operation.
first published:September 03, 2019, 15:37 IST