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regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

KMC sets up special team for demolishing illegal structures in sensitive zones

KMC officials said they have plans to assign another executive engineer for the work who will have no other responsibilities

Subhajoy Roy, Snehal Sengupta Calcutta Published 16.05.24, 06:07 AM
Representational image

Representational image File image

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has set up a special team at its headquarters that will be responsible for demolishing illegal structures in “sensitive” neighbourhoods.

One assistant engineer and four sub-assistant engineers have been chosen for the team. They will have no other responsibilities, KMC officials said.

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The team is headed by an executive engineer, who now handles the responsibility of one more post.

KMC officials said they have plans to assign another executive engineer for the work who will have no other responsibilities.

The move comes after the collapse of an illegal five-storey building in Garden Reach in March that killed 13 people.

The move also follows instances of KMC teams sent to demolish illegal portions of a structure facing resistance from residents. The engineers were abused and threatened by those resisting the demolition.

Mayor Firhad Hakim had earlier said the KMC would set up a central demolition team that would go to various “sensitive” areas and carry out demolition work. Hakim had said engineers at the ward- or borough-level would not be asked to execute the demolition orders in their respective areas because they might face harassment when they would go back to the areas for other work.

Since the central team will not be involved in day-to-day work, the members will be better placed to ward off any pressure to stop demolition.

Hakim told Metro last week that “the special team has been set up”.

KMC sources said the demolition squad stationed in the civic body’s headquarters will be in addition to the demolition teams in each of the 16 boroughs of the KMC. The central team will visit places where there is an apprehension of resistance.

A demolition squad of the KMC was gheraoed and shouted at in April when the team went to pull down an illegal five-storey structure in Kasba. The team could only enter the building after an hour and carry out some demolition. The day before they had to come back in the face of resistance.

In June last year, the demolition of an allegedly illegal building in Jadavpur’s Baghajatin was stopped midway following protests by some residents of the area. A police team that was accompanying the civic body’s demolition squad was outnumbered by the protesters and had to beat a retreat.

A standard operating procedure prepared by the KMC following the collapse of the Garden Reach building has made it mandatory for civic engineers to alert the police whenever an illegal structure is identified.

New Town

A demolition team has been formed by the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) — which provides civic services to New Town — that will be headed by an executive engineer.

An NKDA official said the demolition team will have no responsibility other than razing unauthorised structures.

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