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Calcutta Municipal Corporation central team for demolition

Mayor Firhad Hakim announced the formation of the team while presenting the civic budget

By Subhajoy Roy in Calcutta
  • Published 16.02.19, 3:42 PM
  • Updated 16.02.19, 3:42 PM
  • 2 mins read
Firhad Hakim at civic house on Friday Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

A demolition team will be stationed at the Calcutta Municipal Corporation headquarters and will set out to raze an illegal structure soon after an order is issued, the move aiming to cut down the response time.

Mayor Firhad Hakim announced the formation of the team while presenting the civic budget on Friday.

“In the current system, the civic headquarters issue a demolition order to the borough concerned, from where a team is dispatched to the site. The process gives enough time to the owner of an illegal structure to prepare to resist the demolition team,” an official said.

An order of demolition, once approved by the mayor, is sent to the chief engineer of the building department. From there it goes to the executive engineer of the borough concerned via the deputy chief engineer.

The executive engineer finalises a date for demolition and arranges men and other resources for the job.

According to the proposed plan, a demolition team will be ready at the civic headquarters on SN Banerjee Road round the year and set out to raze a structure soon after the mayor approves a demolition order.

Mayor Hakim, while announcing the formation of such a team, said the civic body would not target minor deviations. Sources said the mayor was against regularising major deviations, such as illegal addition of floors.

“We will set up a central (demolition) team that will work with Calcutta police. There are instances of one, two or even three floors having been added illegally to the sanctioned plan. We will not allow this. If required, we will go to the Supreme Court against such structures,” the mayor said.

“But we will not target small houses adding a room for the sake of living. Our target will be promoters who add floors illegally.”

A CMC official said they would fix a threshold for major deviations. “The measure will be in square foot,” he said.

The CMC building rules allow illegal structures to be legalised following payment of a fine if the civic body finds the illegal portion is not causing any harm, is structurally stable and there is no complaint against it.

A section of officials said it was difficult to assess how many illegal structures were there in Calcutta. “If minor deviations are considered, over 90 per cent of the houses are illegal,” said one engineer.

In his budget speech, the mayor also said the civic body would take an initiative to amend the building rules related to land under the Calcutta Thika Tenancy Act. “The proposed amendments will make it easier for people living on thika tenancy land to construct a house and make alterations,” the official said.

A thika tenancy land is one which the government came to possess after the zamindari system was abolished.