The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Work halt at tower house

The civic authorities on Thursday slapped a stop-work notice on one of the four residential towers of South City, Calcutta's largest and tallest housing complex coming up on Prince Anwar Shah Road.

This followed an inspection by a team of officials of the civic building department, led by director-general (building) Pranab Kumar Basu and city architect (south) Somnath Pal, which detected 'gross irregularities in the construction'.

Mayoral council member (building) Dipankar De said 'gross irregularities' were found especially in the construction of the 30-storey tower ' the other three towers are 35 storeys high. The building department has been directed not to allow any further construction on this structure till the promoters obtain a clearance from technical experts from Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur.

'The civic team has found out that the ground on which the tower is coming up is not compact enough. The structure will not only be unstable, but will affect houses in the vicinity. Corrective measures will have to be taken in consultation with the experts,' council member De added.

The promoters, South City Project Calcutta Ltd, denied the allegations. 'There is no irregularity in our work, which is being done in accordance with international standards. All precautionary measures have been factored in. Our buildings are very safe,' Sushil Mohta, a director of South City Project Calcutta Ltd, asserted on Friday.

He, however, clarified that the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC)'s order regarding an inspection by Shibpur engineers would be carried out. 'We will satisfy the civic authorities.'

The inspection by the civic building department followed complaints by some house-owners in the locality that their buildings had developed cracks because of the construction work.

Initially, work was stopped on all four towers of the estate. But following pleas by the promoters, who protested that that the measure was 'too harsh', the civic body restricted its stop-work notice to only one of the towers.

At a meeting on Thursday, attended by mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, the building department decided that the promoters would have to first get civil engineers from the Shibpur campus to evaluate whatever construction has been carried out.

The experts will carry out tests in the areas where civic representatives had come across irregularities, such as pile integrity, pile capacity, lateral load capacity and axial load capacity of the 30-storeyed tower.

The CMC is not the only body that has objected to the Rs 1,000-crore estate, coming up on 31 acres.

The Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), too, had pointed out certain irregularities.

CMDA additional director (planning) Shantanu Gupta, who is on the municipal building committee of the civic body, said the construction proposal was not on the agenda when it was placed before the panel.

'I pointed out that the proposal flouted the Land Use and Development Control Plan Act of the CMDA regarding the floor area ratio, mandatory open space and the ground coverage. My objections were noted down, but ignored when the project was sanctioned,' he added.

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