Around 100 families living as state government tenants for decades on a plot adjoining the chief minister’s apartment block on Palm Avenue are allegedly being threatened by a gang of promoters to move out.
Police said land sharks backed by the CPM and the Trinamul Congress have been eyeing the 1.5-bigha plot — which shares the same premises as Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s house, 59 Palm Avenue — for the past few years.
“A probe has revealed that some promoters have ganged up and are threatening the residents to leave the premises. We have got reports that the group wants to construct a highrise there. Our men have visited the spot and assured the residents of all help,” said an officer of Karaya police station.
The 100-odd families live in tile-roofed houses. The men are mostly contract labourers while the women work as domestic help.
A complaint lodged by the residents state the promoters visited the premises a fortnight ago and asked the occupants to leave the place.
“They offered to pay between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh to each family. Before leaving they threatened us with dire consequences if we refused to move out,” said Raj Kumar Haldar, a resident.
The residents went to lodge a complaint with Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee but were stopped by securitymen.
“We asked them to go to Karaya police station the next day. Later, a police team visited the spot and assured the residents of all help,” M. Rahaman, the additional-officer-in-charge of Karaya, told Metro.
Ashok Ghose, who has been living on the plot for the past 50 years, said the residents had faced a similar threat in 2006. “The chief minister had then assured us that no one could evict us,” recalled the 75-year-old.
A civic official said the plot, once owned by private landlords, was acquired by the government in 1950. The occupants are thika tenants who pay rent to the office of the rent controller.
CPM leader Rabin Deb said it was local Trinamul MLA Javed Ahmed Khan’s responsibility to ensure the residents’ security. Khan said he would look into the matter.