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Road & realty trigger for killing

- Fugitive Trinamul councillor fought colleague to pave path for real estate

An attempt to fast-track the widening of a narrow road at the behest of a realty company that had allegedly paid the CMC for it is said to have triggered the intra-party feud that claimed a Trinamul leader’s life on Wednesday.

Adhir Maity from Trinamul’s ward 58 committee collapsed after being allegedly pushed by local councillor Sambhu Nath Kow during an altercation over a 16-cottah plot along Dhapa Road where the civic body intended to relocate vendors blocking the carriageway’s expansion.

Kow, who has been on the run since the incident, had reached the plot on Wednesday morning to allegedly take possession of the plot. Maity and some other local party leaders were opposed to the idea because they wanted a temple to be built on the vacant land.

“Ruchi Realty, the firm developing the housing project Active Acres, paid Rs 2.07 crore to the Calcutta Municipal Corporation as the cost for widening 400 metres of Dhapa Road from its intersection with the EM Bypass,” a senior official of the civic body said.

Representatives of Ruchi declined to comment but the CMC official said the realty firm had been affected the most by the size of the carriageway.

Sources in Dhapa Sitalapara said many prospective buyers of flats at Active Acres — currently priced in excess of Rs 1 crore each — had backed out because the road linking the project to the Bypass was narrow.

The CMC had been planning to widen the road for some time but couldn’t start the task because evicting vendors from either side of the 400-metre stretch was a hurdle. “The subject of widening the road was taken up with mayor Sovan Chatterjee several times. Kow was given the responsibility of relocating the vendors to the 16-cottah vacant plot along the road…. Maity opposed the move,” the CMC official said.

Pressure apparently mounted on the civic body to speed up the task when the size of the road started affecting the saleability of apartments in the area.

A wide road not only adds to the attractiveness of a realty project, it also allows more construction space, according to experts.

“Under the building rules of the CMC, the total floor area of a building increases with the width of the road in front. Wider the road, more the floor space allowed,” an official said.

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation Building Rules, 2009, which came into force in 2012, stipulates that the floor-area ratio for a residential building with a 4-metre wide road in front is 1.75 (floor area divided by area of the land).

For a project with an 18-metre wide road in front, the ratio is 2.50.

This means that a 10-cottah plot with an 18-metre road in front will be allowed more floor area than a plot of the same size with a 5-metre road in front.

Kow was keen to ensure that large as well as small real estate players enjoyed the benefit of a higher floor-area ratio, for which widening the road was necessary.

“He was trying to push the project without taking the local leadership along with him. He was probably confident that nobody would stop him as he was close to mayor Chatterjee and party MP Mukul Roy,” a source in Trinamul said.