| The Harish Mukherjee Road house, a portion of which collapsed on Tuesday. Picture by Amit Datta
More than a hundred nursery children and their parents had a narrow escape on Tuesday when a portion of a Harish Mukherjee Road building collapsed and the rubble came crashing down on the road.
Three people, including a pedestrian, were injured in the collapse around 12.30pm, soon after the parents had left with the children after three primary schools in the area gave over.
The building was being pulled down to make way for a highrise. Bhowanipore police station is on the lookout for the promoter and has cordoned off the area.
Of the injured, pedestrian Partha Goswami, in his mid-30s, has been admitted to SSKM Hospital in a critical condition. The other two, labourers involved in the demolition, were treated and discharged from hospital.
“The building came down with an explosion-like sound. For several minutes we could not see anything because of the dust,” said Ratan Malakar, the local councillor. “It would have been a major disaster if the building collapsed sometime earlier, when the children were walking down the stretch with their mothers.”
Local residents claimed that the promoter had not bothered to cover the building’s façade or cordon off the pavement to protect the pedestrians since the demolition work started.
“We were not informed about the demolition. If we find that there were lapses on the part of anyone involved, then we would arrest him immediately,” said a senior officer of the police station.
Built on four cottahs, off the 23 Pally Durga Puja Samity’s enclosure, the three-storeyed house dates back several decades. The local residents are not sure who the original owner was. According to the white marble nameplate, it was built by Ahidhar Ghosh. Some residents of the area said, Somnath Ghosh, the current owner, had handed over the house to a realty firm named Envision Builder.
“The demolition work was being carried out from the back of the building. Even today, the labourers were working in the back of the house. But the front half of the building collapsed suddenly. The debris rained down on a telephone cable joint box and then on the footpath,” said local resident Sashi Bhusan Mukherjee.