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Three engineers of KMC’s building department in charge of Garden Reach area suspended

Suspension comes within days of division bench of Calcutta HC asking KMC to probe 'complicity' of officials and/or councillors and submit report to court

Subhajoy Roy | Published 14.04.24, 05:27 AM
Site of accident

Site of accident

File picture

Three engineers of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s building department who were in charge of the Garden Reach area where a building, allegedly illegal, collapsed last month killing 13 people were suspended on Saturday.

A senior official said the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) decided to suspend the engineers based on an interim report by an inquiry committee set up by it. The committee, however, did not recommend the suspension.


The suspension comes within days of a division bench of Calcutta High Court asking the KMC to probe the “complicity” of officials and/or councillors and submit a report to the court.

“We have suspended the executive engineer, the assistant engineer and the sub-assistant engineer responsible for the building department’s activities in that area,” said an official.

The suspension would mean that the engineers will be barred from coming to the office and they will receive a part of their salary.

Departmental proceedings will start against them and a committee to investigate the role of the engineers will be formed. They will question the engineers and, if required, their seniors and juniors in the department.

“This committee will submit a report and give a set of recommendations based on which the head of the institution will take a final call,” said another official.

If the committee finds the engineers responsible for the collapse their service may be terminated.

“The engineers may also be reinstated with certain conditions like no promotion or no increment for the rest of their service tenure.”

Two of the engineers suspended on Saturday had already been transferred from the building department while the third was still working in the department and in the same area, KMC sources said.

A division bench of Calcutta High Court on Monday told the KMC counsel that unauthorised construction “could not have been undertaken by the owners/promoters without connivance with the officers of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and/or local councillors”.

The suspension of the engineers drew a sharp response from a section of KMC engineers who questioned why only engineers were being made the scapegoat.

They said the court order also said illegal construction cannot happen without the involvement of councillors.

A probe committee set up by the KMC to inquire into the cause of the collapse submitted its interim report earlier this week.

An official said the committee said that possible reasons for the collapse could be poor workmanship and poor quality of materials used.

The committee also said a part of the plot where the building was coming up was a pond in the state government’s records.

Officials said a full report cannot be submitted till a Jadavpur University team submits its reports based on samples collected from the crash site.

The KMC’s probe committee has sought help from the university’s civil engineering department to analyse samples.

The professors have yet to collect soil samples because the debris has not been
cleared yet.

Last updated on 14.04.24, 05:28 AM

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