Scores displaced, distressed after another E-W Metro tunnelling fiasco

07:10 PM Oct 14, 2022 | PTI |

Kolkata: Panic gripped residents of Bowbazar area here on Friday after cracks surfaced in their homes during the East-West Metro tunnelling work — the third such incident in three years — with many of them distressed over the belongings left behind and the uncertainty that looms over their return to normal life.


KMRC, the executing agency of the Metro project — connecting IT hub Sector V in Salt Lake with Howrah Maidan — said that efforts will be made to give monetary compensation to the residents and shop owners within 15 days, as per norms.

Anxiety, however, did not seem to ebb among the over 130 residents of the ten buildings that developed cracks on Friday morning, following land subsidence due to the tunnelling work.

”They (residents) have been given rooms in nearby hotels by KMRC,” the East-West Metro project executing agency’s general manager (administration), A K Nandy, said.

An elderly couple, standing on B B Ganguly Street after being asked to leave their damaged house by the authorities, said that they wish to get back to their residence at the earliest.


”Nothing matters more to us than being able to live under our own roof,” they said.

Ashok Sarkar, owner of a shop in one of the affected buildings, said he could not bring out all goods out of the shop when they were asked to vacate it.

”I had to leave most of my merchandise in the shop and come out. We are not allowed to go in a second time,” he said.

Anup Maity, another resident of the area, said that those who live in houses adjacent to the affected ones are worried that their buildings might also suffer the same fate.

He said that such uncertainties have led to apprehensions among residents of the affected houses as also those adjacent to these.

”The Metro authorities must do something to ensure that such things do not recur,” he said, demanding a permanent solution to the problem.

Most of the houses in the Bowbazar area, a very old middle-class locality in the heart of the city, are more than century-old constructions.

Bishwajit Motilal, whose over-200-year-old house developed cracks on May 11 due to land subsidence caused by underground water seepage during work in the tunnel, said he was shifted to a hotel along with many others the next day.

Motilal said that he had been living at a relative’s flat since then, while several others are staying at residential flats provided by the KMRC on a temporary basis.

”We do not know when we will be able to get back to our own refurbished houses,” he told PTI.

He alleged that the KMRC authorities have not taken up their problem ”with the seriousness it deserves”. On August 31, 2019, a tunnel boring machine (TBM) had hit an aquifer leading to severe ground subsidence and collapse of several buildings at Bowbazar, causing delay in completion of the project.

At least three houses were damaged again in May this year owing to ground subsidence caused by water seepage during work for joining the tunnels – one coming from the Sealdah side and the other from Esplanade side.


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