KMC to seek top cop’s help to raze illegal buildings

Form A Special Team: Civic Body’s SOS

Kolkata:14 Sept. 2019 (Times of India)

Having failed to raze illegal buildings owing to resistance from a section of real estate developers, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation has decided to knock on the door of police commissioner Anuj Sharma so that a separate police team is set up to assist the KMC building department officials in demolition of unauthorized structures.

Sources in the mayor’s office confirmed that Firhad Hakim has instructed the senior officials of the building department to prepare a list of illegal buildings which could not be demolished due to resistance from promoters or their associates in the past two months. According to a senior building department official, a message has been sent to every executive engineer in borough offices asking them to prepare a borough-wise list of unsuccessful attempts by the civic demolition teams, citing the reasons for failure.

Building department sources conceded that in most cases of failure (in demolishing illegal structures) a coordination gap between the civic officials and police officers was noticed. “This is the reason why the civic top brass is worried about the fate of illegal buildings that are being constructed by a section of promoters without bothering about civic action,” said a building department official.

Recently, a demolition drive fell flat and some KMC workers were bashed up at Beliaghata when the team went to raze an illegal under-construction building. The incident made the civic body’s building department take note and sit up as a section of civic officials accused the cops of non-cooperation. However, police officers claimed that political intervention was behind the cases of resistance.“That claim is also true. Besides police inaction, intervention by a section of ruling party councillors is another reason behind the failures of the demolition drives,” said a borough-level official of the building department.

The mayor expressed his dismay over the non-compliance of demolition orders. Hakim got more than a dozen calls from across the city in the past two months during his weekly “talk to mayor” programme accusing the civic staff of inaction when it comes to razing illegal structures. “Each time mayor assured the callers that action would be taken against the offenders. But in reality, we could not pull down many illegal structures owing to resistance. Now we need a coordinated action against the unscrupulous promoters to bring down the number of illegal buildings,” a civic official said.