| A Santoshpur resident points to the cracks in the wall of his house. Picture by Amit Datta
Residents of nearly a dozen buildings on Santoshpur Avenue have been experiencing tremors, measuring 1.5 on the Richter scale, for the past month.
The tremors are caused by the reverberation of the wheels of heavy vehicles that fall into ditches and potholes left behind by the civic water supply department, which conducted repairs recently of the area’s pipelines.
The tremors have left cracks in at least 10 buildings between Shibmandir and Jorabridge.
Efforts are on to bring Jadavpur and Santoshpur under the ambit of filtered surface water supply, through the upcoming Garfa booster pumping station. The area is now served by deep tubewells.
After the CMDA laid an 18-inch-diameter reserve line to take filtered surface water from Garden Reach to the Garfa booster station, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) also laid a six-inch-diameter pipeline across the road, connecting the existing service line to residences. The stretch between Shimandir and Jorabridge was dug up in five spots.
After laying the pipeline, the CMC workers filled the ditches with loose earth, which shifted when vehicles started plying on the road. Soon after, residents started experiencing the tremors, whenever heavy vehicles plied on the road.
“I was forced to shell out Rs 1.30 lakh to repair the cracks in my building. New pillars and columns were constructed to support the verandah and the ceiling,” said Prafulla Kumar Chakraborty, a retired railway employee.
Kanchan Kanti Biswas, a retired VSNL employee, has drawn the attention of the Ganatantrik Nagarik Committee to the issue.
“Even the walls in my house have developed cracks,” said Rajat Kumar Chakraborty, former Rajya Sabha MP and a retired professor of Jadavpur University. He has written to the local borough office and borough XII chairman Sunil Chakraborty two weeks ago, but the pleas have gone unanswered.
Borough chairman Chakraborty was not available for comment. Mayor-in-council (water supply) member Sovan Chatterjee said: “We have completed the pipeline network from the Garfa booster station. But since we were three months behind schedule, the ditches were not filled up properly.”
Chief engineer (water supply) Dibyendu Roychaudhury said Santoshpur Avenue does not fall under the CMC’s jurisdiction. The road is maintained by the PWD. “We have already allotted funds to the PWD for the restoration of Santoshpur Avenue. Work will start soon,” said a spokesperson for the CMDA.