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Firhad Hakim offers new houses in ‘one place’ to Bowbazar residents

Roads in the affected zone are very narrow and tall buildings cannot be allowed, says mayor

Subhajoy Roy | Published 12.06.22, 01:35 AM
Firhad Hakim

Firhad Hakim

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The Kolkata Municipal Corporation will propose to Durga Pituri Lane residents whose houses may have to be pulled down that they allow their new homes to be built in one place instead of separately or in the exact location where they stand now, mayor Firhad Hakim said on Saturday. The present building rules may not allow such structures on narrow lanes, he said.

According to assessments so far, 38 buildings have developed cracks — 14 on May 11, 2022, and 24 in 2019.


A member of the Jadavpur University (JU) team that has been appointed by the CMC to assess the condition of the buildings said many of the houses that have developed cracks because of a failure in the tunnelling work of the East-West Metro project may have to be pulled down.

The houses were built several decades ago, some close to a century. The rules for building a house were very different then and big houses were built on very narrow lanes.

Hakim said the narrow Durga Pituri Lane even has four-storey buildings.

An architect involved in several residential projects in Kolkata said that according to rules now, the width of a road in front of a building has to be a minimum of 14ft for a four-storey structure.

Hakim said that the roads in the affected zone were very narrow and tall buildings cannot be allowed.

He said that if the residential units are built in one place, there can be separate zones for businesses and residences.

“We will meet the residents within one or two weeks. If possible, we will build all the residences in one zone,” Hakim said on Saturday.

“We will divide the area into zones. We will prepare a nice plan and have separate zones for residences and businesses,” he said.

What Hakim meant is that it would not be possible to erect houses of the same size and height if the residents want to hold on to the small parcels of land they own. But if they agree to hand over their lands, a large parcel of land can be used to build new homes in one place.

Architects and engineers said that Hakim had proposed a rejuvenation or redevelopment plan for the area and it may make the place better than what it was before.

A KMC official said new and wider roads would also have to be built if Hakim’s proposal takes shape.

Hakim’s plan can take shape only if all the affected residents agree to submit their land rights. “If they do not agree to submit their land rights then we have to think of another way. We may then have to make special building rules keeping this area in mind and that has to be passed in the Assembly,” he said.

Besides residences, many businesses ran from the affected buildings.

Hakim spoke about forming a committee, which would include the deputy commissioner of police in charge of that area, a KMC official and the local councillor, to identify people who ran businesses in the affected zone.

“People who run these businesses will be identified. They will take some other place on rent and run their business from there. The Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation will pay the rent,” Hakim said.

He said construction of new houses could only begin after the East-West Metro authorities give a certificate that the land had settled and the tunnelling work had finished.

Subsequent settlement of soil after construction of new houses will again create problems, he said.

Last updated on 12.06.22, 01:35 AM

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