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BF Block residents suffer from air and sound pollution due to repairs at Sankalpa 2

The matter has been brought to the notice of the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) and an inspection will take place in a fortnight

Brinda Sarkar | Published 07.07.23, 11:15 AM
EYE OF COMPLAINT STORM: Sankalpa 2 in New Town

EYE OF COMPLAINT STORM: Sankalpa 2 in New Town

The Telegraph

Residents of BF Block in New Town allege that they have to suffer both air and sound pollution because of ongoing repairs at Sankalpa 2, the housing complex that faces them.

The Sankalpa buildings have been undergoing repairs for over a year, generating tremendous amount of dust and debris that make their way into neighbourhood homes which also have to put up with noise, smoke and heat from their generators and electrical transformers. The matter has been brought to the notice of the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) and an inspection will take place in a fortnight.


Days of distress

The worst hit are the 200-odd residents of BF Block living on Street 167, that lies behind Sankalpa 2’s tower 6 and 7. This is near Swapnobhor senior citizens’ park.

Satchitananda Mukhopadhyay, a resident who is nearly 80, is experiencing breathing trouble because of the constant dust while another resident, Bidyut Kumar Datta, says they have to sweep their floors and dust their beds six to seven times a day.

Samir Bhattacharjee complains of the grating noise of Sankalpa’s generators and smoke from its chimneys that are placed extremely close to the BF Block homes. The BF Block co-operative buildings share a common boundary wall with Sankalpa.

“Their transformer room is, again, far from their own buildings but very close to ours. It has nine huge exhaust fans facing our homes that belch hot air. Between June 13 and 17, the exhaust was on 24 hours a day with breaks of only 15 minutes,” he says.

Tapasi Banerjee, a septuagenarian living alone, says it’s her daily chore to send her driver, caretaker or son, when he’s visiting, over to Sankalpa to ask them to spare her from the heat and noise.

“I’m a heart patient with a pacemaker implant. How do I sleep if their machines emit noise and blast like a furnace? Their exhaust makes my room so hot that the AC stopped working. My plants are dying. I cannot even sell this house and move out as no one will buy into a neighbourhood with such disturbance,” Banerjee complains.

Block residents also point to rainwater stagnating on top of Sankalpa’s transformer room, making it a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Dutta says they have approached the Sankalpa authorities multiple times to no avail. “We have spoken to them over phone, text, in person, sent mails and even accosted them in markets but they make excuses or buy time without taking action,” he says.

According to a June 6 letter sent to the secretary of Sankalpa flat owners’ association, they have requested the latter to throw a mesh curtain over the buildings to prevent dust flying free. The letter has received no reply. Bhattacharjee is compiling signatures for another mass petition to be sent out soon.


The Sankalpa authorities says 90 per cent of their repairs are done. “Work is now at a standstill as labourers have gone on Id break and will return after the panchayat elections. Thereafter we have about a month’s work left,” says president of Sankalpa 2 Apartment Owners’ Association, Kaushik Sarkar.

He says it is not possible to throw a curtain down 18 and 19 floor buildings as workers would not get access to the surface though them on gondolas. Gondolas are rope-suspended cradle platforms that labourers stand inside to work on the exterior of highrises.

He claimed to have spoken to a BF Block member about the issue and had proposed to extend the SankalpaBF Block boundary wall with a mesh to the height of the BF Block buildings. “The resident said he would discuss the proposal with his neighbours and get back but hasn’t,” said Sarkar.

He could not recall who he had spoken to. The generator smoke, he says, cannot be guided away as the wind can blow it anywhere and the transformer is under the electricity board. “We don’t even have access to the transformer room. As for the mosquitoes on the transformer terrace, our housekeeping staff shall keep it clean,” says Sarkar.

Official speak

The NKDA says they have received, not one or two but, some 20 complaints about the issue. “When we sanction new constructions projects, we require that the buildings be wrapped to prevent dust and debris from disturbing neighbours. It is common sense anyway that repairs should be done in a way that does not disturb others,” says NKDA chief architect Tapan Dwari.

The NKDA has spoken and written to the Sankalpa authorities. “A couple of weeks ago they had said they would look into the matter and that work would be completed within a fortnight. They say a mesh curtain from their buildings will be difficult to install and run into lakhs of rupees in cost. Nonetheless, we shall visit them again in mid-July,” Dwari says. “If we are not satisfied, NKDA has the authority to issue a stop-work order.”

Last updated on 07.07.23, 11:15 AM

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