The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bare survival in bleak house
- Flat-owners’ woes: No chemists or cinemas, malaria for company

Around 150 flat-owners of the Thakurpukur Cooperative Housing Society Limited, at Ramchandrapur, on the southern fringes of the city, are living a life of misery, ever since they purchased the flats two years ago. Apart from a host of problems, malaria and water-borne diseases have made an appearance, after the drainage system of the housing complex got clogged and stagnant water accumulated on the premises.

To clear the waterlogging, a canal was dug by the PWD, at a cost of Rs 60 lakh, which was supposed to drain out the stagnant water into Tolly’s Nullah but “failed to do so”.

The state of affairs has forced the rest of the 900 flat-owners from taking possession of their flats, for which they have already deposited money with the housing board.

Residents of Phase I alleged that the apartments have been built of inferior material. “Moreover, the other phases are not complete and the constant noise of construction is a headache for us,” said a resident, on condition of anonymity. “You will be surprised to know that when we purchased the flats, the government had promised all sorts of facilities. Later, they went back on their word,” said Subrata Sengupta, director of the cooperative.

With just a minibus, a CTC bus and a private bus plying near the housing complex, transport problems have added to the residents’ woes. “Our children are often late to school because of the irregular bus services. Our requests to the authorities have fallen on deaf ears,” said Sengupta.

Anindya Dasgupta, whose son Debayan studies in South Point, on Swinhoe Street, in south Calcutta, narrated how his son could not sit for an examination because he reached late. “My son and I had started for the school at least two hours before the examination was to begin and yet could not reach the venue on time,” said Dasgupta. Other students of the housing complex — Susmita Ganguly, Meghna Sengupta, and Mausumi Chatterjee — confirmed that more often than not, they were late for class because of poor transport facilities.

Above all, the lack of medicine shops, markets and entertainment sources have brought down the morale of the residents, who have approached the housing minister, the transport minister and even the local administration to bail them out of their misery.

“Nobody is ready to hear us out. The local administration has already thrown up its hands about helping us,” said Sengupta.

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