The West Bengal government has decided to form an expert committee to review the situation after cracks were spotted in certain buildings at Durga Pituri Lane in the congested Bowbazar area in central Kolkata because of the underground tunnel-boring work of the East-West Metro Rail project.
In August 2019, around 40 houses in the same lane had developed cracks and at that time, over 250 residents were evacuated by the Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation (KMRCL) authorities, who arranged for the accommodation of the evacuated residents in different city hotels for about three months. Later, the residents returned to their respective homes after the cracks were repaired.
Kolkata Mayor and Transport Minister Firhad Hakim visited the spot on Thursday and inspected the buildings where cracks have developed.
“Most of these buildings are highly vulnerable. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation had served notices to many of these buildings over two months back. I also had dialogues with the KMRCL authorities. After KMRCL submits a report to Chief Secretary, a joint expert committee will be formed which will review the situation and take appropriate measures,” Hakim told the media.
Meanwhile, KMRCL has already arranged for accommodation for the dwellers of several buildings at different hotels in the city. The KMRCL engineers were on the spot since Wednesday night trying to ascertain the reason behind the development of cracks.
The underground tunnel that reportedly caused the cracks in around 10 houses at Durga Pituri Lane is supposed to connect Esplanade with Sealdah. The area is extremely congested with several old and dilapidated residential houses, many gold and silver jewellery manufacturing shops. One of the oldest red-light areas of Kolkata is also located in the area at Premchand Boral Street.
The underground tunnel is a part of the project to connect the Howrah station with the IT hub in Salt Lake on the northern outskirts of the city.