The Kolkata MetroRail Corporation (KMRC), the agency executing the EastWest Metro project connecting Howrah and Sector V inSalt Lake, has finally decided to award compensation to the affected shop owners.
The owners suffered “loss of business” following the May 11 subsidence underground inBowbazar and the evacuation that followed.
From August 29, the first lot of businessmen, mostly jewellers from Durga PituriLane, will start receiving their cheques, senior officials of the KMRC said. The agency has identified 14-odd traders from the subsidence zone who will be receiving the compensation, the officials said.
There is no clarity yet on how much they will get and how the railways arrived at the figure.
On May 11, excavation of soil to grout a “blind spot” under the Howrah-bound tunnel of East-West Metro had resulted in a leak of underground water that in turn had caused subsidence and cracks in at least nine buildings in Bowbazar.
The cracks displaced over160 people, the second time in less than three years. The leak was brought under control after 24 hours but the buildings remained unsafe and unusable for a long time after that.
“We had wanted to compensate the businessmen earlier but the process of verification of the relevant details of the applicants took some time,” said a senior KMRC official.
“Our officials visited hotels where some of those displaced have been lodged and then to their respective business units to cross-check the information that has been provided.”
To begin with, the KMRChas decided to compensate those who owned business establishments and shops measuring up to 100 sq ft. Those with a bigger space will be subsequently compensated after the amount has been worked out, officials said.
“We have short-listed those with valid trade licences when the disaster took place, a rent receipt of their establishments, voter and Aadhaar cards,” the official said.
A section of traders from Durga Pituri Lane, the epicentre of the second collapse, said they had submitted a list of around 50-dd jewellers who have been displaced.
“We are unaware of how the KMRC has short-listed traders for compensation. There has been no official communication to us about when cheques would be disbursed,” said Paritosh Kar, one of the jewellers in Bowbazar.
Since May, almost all jewellers have shifted to rented accommodations in and around the disaster zone, in small houses dotting Shyakrapara Lane, Gour De Lane and Nabin Chand Boral Lanein Bowbazar.
“The rent for a 170 sq ft of space on Gour Dey Lane is Rs10,000 a month. I have no alternative but to pay this amount,” said Bikash Shaw, a jeweller.