Whiff of building alert backlash

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 11.04.12
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A CPM councillor’s house in Kasba was attacked on Tuesday while a civic team was demolishing parts of an illegal building in the neighbourhood she had reported against.

Dipu Das, the councillor of ward 67, alleged Trinamul supporters had vandalised her house to teach her a lesson for alerting the civic authorities about the illegal three-storeyed structure on Dr GS Bose Road. She has lodged a complaint with Kasba police station.

Trinamul MLA and minister Javed Ahmed Khan denied supporters of his party were involved in the attack. Mayor Sovan Chatterjee echoed his stand.

Das, councillor since 2000, said she had brought the building to the civic authorities’ notice last August. “They took seven months to act. The building is now complete and the promoter has sold a part of it. What had prevented them from taking action before?” she wondered.

The civic board had halted demolition of illegal structures soon after Trinamul formed the board in 2010, with mayor Sovan Chatterjee announcing that he was against pulling down buildings occupied by “ordinary people”.

Sources in the buildings department said the mayor’s stand had resulted in a spurt in unauthorised buildings in Tiljala, Topsia, Entally, Jadavpur, Kasba, Behala and parts of east Calcutta along the Bypass.

“The mayor has recently asked the buildings department to resume the demolition drive following a prod from the chief minister. It seems the department has zeroed in on the Kasba structure because a CPM councillor had complained against it,” said a civic official.

“The fallout of Tuesday’s drive, however, suggests any action against unlawful buildings would prove politically costly for the civic bosses,” the official added.

The councillor has alleged that around 50 people, armed with iron rods and bamboo poles, raided her two-storeyed house and smashed the windows and damaged the roof of the electric meter room. “My mother-in-law was injured as the goons hurled stones at our first-floor balcony,” said Das.

Rupa Bagchi of the CPM, the leader of the Opposition in the civic House, said after visiting Das’s home: “The attack on our councillor’s house was an act of revenge for complaining against an unauthorised structure.”

A civic building inspector said the illegal structure came up on a plot owned by the family of Uttam Shau, who runs a milk booth in the area. A local promoter, Uday Poddar, alias Pappu, built the structure.

“Pappu and Uttam are absconding,” said a police officer.