The residents of at least three buildings near the East-West Metro construction site in central Kolkata’s Bowbazar have been evacuated as a “precautionary measure”.
One of the buildings is on 6 Gour Dey Lane. A notice served by the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation — the implementing agency of the East-West Metro corridor which, once fully operational, will link Howrah Maidan and Salt Lake Sector V — said the building is in the “influence zone” of work to bridge a gap between two ends of a shaft.
The residents were served a notice on February 24 and shifted to different hotels arranged by the KMRC. The building had five families and a handful of goldsmiths living on the ground and first floors.
“The construction of balance base slab within TBM recovery shaft of Bowbazar is now in progress and premises no 6 Gour Dey Lane, Kolkata-700012 is situated within the influence zone of this work. As a matter of abundant precaution, the residents... are hereby being requested not to stay at their premises during the work…” said the notice.
Jay Kumar Rana, who lived in the ground floor of the building with his wife and children, was shifted to a hotel in Bowbazar. “It is troublesome to leave home like this. But I hope the work gets over without any further hurdle,” said Rana, who owns a pool car that ferries children between their homes and school.
The construction of the base slab started from February 27 and should be completed by March 5, the notice said. The residents can come back before the scheduled date if the work is done, said an official.
“Three buildings have been evacuated and around 45 people have been shifted to two hotels in Bowbazar,” said A.K. Nandi, the general manager (administration) of the KMRC.
The same area has seen three accidents, causing largescale subsidence and collapse of and cracks in many buildings, since 2019. Hundreds of people have been displaced because of the accidents.
The work to plug the shaft was stalled since an accident in May last year because of a fear of a possible rerun. The work resumed on February 27 this year.
“There are two ends of the retrieval shaft. The two circular tunnels are linked by a box, which is being built inside the shaft. From outside, the box looks like a cuboid and inside, it looks like a cylinder, like the circular tunnels. The length of the retrieval shaft is 38m. The box, being built from the Sealdah side, was completed up to 29m when the accident (on May 11, 2022) took place. The structure is made up of a base, walls and roof. We had finished 29m of the base slab,” said an official of the KMRC.
“Since resuming work six days ago, we have completed 4.5 metres of the balance 9 metres. The remaining portion should be complete by March 5-6,” he said.