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Elderly woman found dead in flat

An elderly woman living alone in a flat in Bansdroni was found dead on Monday morning.

The decomposed body of Meera Moitra, 60, was found in the bedroom of her 1,000sq ft flat after neighbours complained of a stench.

Moitra, a widow, did not have any children, police said. “Nor have we come across any close friend or relative of the lady,” said an officer of Bansdroni police station.

“She had been living alone on the first floor of the three-storeyed building — Biplab Niketan — in Bansdroni’s Naskarpara since the death of her husband. She did not have any children. Only one relative has turned up till Monday evening. We are trying to find more about her,” the officer said.

A man who runs a shop opposite the apartment block said she would see Moitra sit alone in the balcony. “I did not see her over the past four-five days. I came to know about the death after the police broke into the apartment,” the man said.

Neighbours told the police they had seldom seen any guest come to Moitra’s flat.

A fortnight ago, a woman living alone was found dead in her Gariahat home. Several other elderly people, who were forced to live alone as their children are settled elsewhere, met with the same fate in the city. “In majority of the cases, residents of a locality or an apartment block don’t know who lives in their neighbouring house or flat. This adds to the problem,” said a police officer.

In an attempt to address the problem faced by the aged living alone, Calcutta police had in 2009 started an initiative called Pronam, with the NGO The Bengal. Elderly people can register themselves with Pronam so cops could help them in crisis.

“I have been a Pronam member since my retirement four years ago. A police officer comes to meet me every month.... I wish people spent more time with us,” said a former central government employee who lives with her 84-year-old aunt at her south Calcutta home.

Pronam has 9,496 members across the city. “An assistant sub-inspector and a team of constables and homeguards at each police station keep in touch with the Pronam members in their respective areas,” said an officer at Lalbazar.