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Menace of building materials strewn on roads in Kolkata and New Town

Sites not covered, items dumped on roads and pavements in violation of civic rules

Subhajoy Roy And Snehal Sengupta | Published 25.03.23, 06:30 AM
Construction materials dumped along the Prince Anwar Shah Road connector, near Kalikapur, on Friday and (above) Rajdanga Main Road on Monday

Construction materials dumped along the Prince Anwar Shah Road connector, near Kalikapur, on Friday and (above) Rajdanga Main Road on Monday

Pictures by Gautam Bose and Bishwarup Dutta

Contractors and workers involved in construction are stacking materials on pavements beyond the permissible time and not installing dust barriers, flouting guidelines issued by the civic authorities, a tour across Kolkata and New Town revealed.

Neighbourhoods where construction is going on look dirty and dusty because of indiscriminate dumping of building materials. Residents have alleged that their complaints fall on deaf ears.


A school in south Kolkata’s Kasba complained that smoke from machines at a construction site nearby fills up the corridors and enters classrooms. The school has to shut its doors and windows.

“When they run all the machines together, smoke covers the entire area and enters the corridors and classrooms. The ICSE and ISC examinations are under way. Some guardians have asked us what steps we are taking to prevent the smoke from entering the school building,” said an official of Garden High School.

A senior official of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) said the civic body had the power to stop construction if rules are violated at construction sites. “We have not received any complaints in recent months,” the official said.

The KMC guidelines do not say anything about smoke emanating from machines at construction sites. But they do call for installation of “dust barriers”.

The rules also specify that construction materials cannot be stacked outside for more than three months or after the roof of the ground floor is ready, whichever is earlier.

“Builders are supposed to hang a cloth without holes that will prevent dust or construction materials from escaping the construction site. They are also supposed to sprinkle water at the site so that dust does not spread. Even materials stacked in front of the site should be covered with a plastic sheet or cloth,” said a KMC official.

“It is mentioned on the approved building plan that construction materials can be kept outside only for three months or till the roof casting of the ground floor is complete, whichever is earlier.”

But across the city, construction materials are seen dumped on the pavement or the road in front of the structures whose second, third or even upper floors are complete.

On Friday, The Telegraph saw several construction sites along the Prince Anwar Shah Road connector that lacked a dust barrier and where building materials had been kept stacked on the pavement in front.

“If the road is narrow, materials dumped on the pavement spill over and block the carriageway, increasing chances of accident,” said a south Kolkata resident.

Construction materials like sand, stone chips and bricks, and construction waste dumped on roads are a common sight in New Town, too.

Satyajit Acharjee, a retired central government employee who lives in New Town’s AL Block, said a construction site next to his building had no dust barrier.

Acharjee said he had lodged repeated complaints with the New Town Kolkata Development Authority but the issue has not been addressed yet.

“I am a cancer patient and my wife suffers from a respiratory disorder. We have placed repeated requests but no action has been taken yet. We are finding it difficult to live like this in a township that prides itself in being a planned area,” said Acharjee.

According to NKDA regulations, builders or contractors must cover construction sites with sheets made of plastic or other materials to prevent dust from spreading across the neighbourhood.

“We also advise builders to spray water on construction sites to reduce the dust cloud,” said an NKDA official.

Asked about Acharjee’s complaints, the official promised action. “We had asked the builder to cover the construction site with plastic sheets. We will follow it up with him again,” said the official.

Last updated on 25.03.23, 06:57 AM

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