The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Disputed documents missing

The civic authorities have suddenly woken up to the fact that the copy of the sanctioned plan of controversial buildings in the city, from Firpo’s to Vardaan market, are missing. Also on the not-found list are some of the under-construction buildings, which have either collapsed or been abandoned.

Sources said “nearly 200” such plans are missing from the department. “Troublemakers are indulging in such malpractices,” said mayor Subrata Mukherjee, hinting that the motive was “defeating the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) in case of a dispute in the court of law”.

The loss of these documents would imply that the CMC would not be able to prove its charges against structures declared illegal or unsafe by it.

The problem is said to be more acute in the case of building disputes in the added areas of Behala, Garden Reach and Jadavpur, as most relevant documents had not been handed over to the civic body at the time of their merger 17 years ago.

Mukherjee is facing an immediate crisis, with Calcutta High Court directing the CMC to revalidate the construction plan of the residential complex of the Bangurs at Buroshibtala, in Behala, and to allow them to carry out construction after a lapse of 12 years.

The Bangurs, said director-general (building) Ashok Roychaudhury, had been constructing 11 five-storeyed buildings at Buroshibtala. The CMC, in 1990, slapped a ‘stop-work’ notice following the collapse of a building, killing four people.

Calcutta High Court has recently directed the municipal commissioner to revalidate the construction plan after hearing out the party. The problem facing the CMC is that the building in question has been demolished and the copy of the sanctioned plan cannot be traced.

The mayor has formed an all-party committee, which includes Congress leader of the Opposition in the CMC Sailen Dasgupta and CPM councillor and MLA Sudhanshu Sil, to advise municipal commissioner Debasis Som. The committee held its first meeting on Monday in the office of member (building) Swapan Samaddar, where Sil said no decision could be taken without the soil-test report and structural-stability certificate for the buildings that had “stood idle in unfinished condition” for over 12 years now.

Dasgupta said the construction proposal had been sanctioned in 1982, when Behala was not under the jurisdiction of the CMC. Since building rules in the municipal areas were less stringent, the builders got much more benefit than what they can be entitled to under the CMC norms.

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