The partial demolition of 16/1 Durga Pituri Lane in central Kolkata’s Bowbazar, which has been damaged beyond repair because of East-West Metro work, began on Tuesday.
Workers armed with sledgehammers and iron rods started the demolition from the terrace of the two-storey building.
Engineers and other personnel from ITD-ITD Cementation, the company that is building the underground tunnel of East-West Metro, were videographing the demolition. “Space is inadequate, so we are unable to use large hydraulic equipment,” said an official of Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC), the implementing agency of the Metro project.
Apart from 16/1, the Metro authorities have identified another building, 16 Durga Pituri Lane, for partial demolition. Work at the second building could not start because the owner has reportedly objected to the demolition.
Officials have said they might have to raze the two buildings if it appears partial demolition isn’t enough.
Residents said partial demolition of the buildings would leave open the question what happens to the part left intact once East-West Metro starts operation.
“There is no guarantee that cracks won’t surface in the other part of the building once East-West trains start running. I guess we will have to spend the rest of our lives in constant fear,” said Subhasis Das, a resident of 16/1 Durga Pituri Lane.
Before the demolition work started, a team from Kolkata Municipal Corporation, led by commissioner Vinod Kumar, visited the lane in Bowbazar and assessed the condition of the buildings. One of the buildings, 15 Durga Pituri Lane, has been declared “dangerous” by the civic body.
KMRC officials said they were waiting for the KMC’s permission to partially pull down the building.