87 locals return to 5 bldgs without power and water

Kolkata: 26 Sept, 2019(Times of India)

14 Households To Come Back Before Puja

The displaced residents from the Bowbazar Metro mishap site crossed several hurdles to complete their hotelto-home journey on Wednesday. The euphoria of returning home after three weeks soon turned into anxiety and a feeling of helplessness crawled in when they realized power, water connections have not been restored and there were gaping cracks in some of the houses.

Nearly 700 people were evacuated and shifted to hotels after a tunnel boring machine (TBM) burrowing an underground corridor for East-West Metro hit an aquifer on 31 August, leading to the flooding of the tunnel and subsidence of land above.

In the evening, KMRC officials assured residents that power and water connection will be restored as and when they move in. They gave in writing that engineers will inspect their homes and repairs, if any, will be started in seven days.

On Wednesday 87 of the 167 residents, who were scheduled to return home after KMC-listed engineers declared 14 buildings safe for reuse, were shifted. Others refused to leave their hotels till water, and power connections were restored and a safety certificate by KMRC.

Aphone call from KMRC officials informing about the shifting triggered euphoria among the Jaiswal family. But it soon died down. “When we were being rushed out of home, engineers told us not to even switch on the fan, because it may trigger a collapse as the condition of the building was bad,” said Paltu Jaiswal, a resident of 5/2 Gour Dey Lane.

The houses where residents have gone back are 105 BB Ganguly Street, 5/2 Gour De Lane, 6 Gour De Lane, 5/1Gour De Lane, 2/1B Shyakrapara Lane. KMRC officials said the residents from the rest nine buildings will be taken home in phases from Thursday.

Satinath Dutta of 2, Shyakrapara Lane and his 13-member family refused to move out of their hotel on getting feedback from neighbours that “there is no water and electricity” in the house. “How is one supposed to live without these essentials,” he said. “We are trying to get power connection reinstalled in the houses at Shykrapara Lane where residents have returned or will return,” a KMRC official said.

Somnath Banerjee (64) and his entire family were waiting to hear from the KMRC officials throughout Wednesday. “We had packed our bags and were waiting for the KMRC officials. We had requested them to give us in writing that the structure was stable for reuse, which they provided very late in the evening,” said Banerjee.

Engineers said neither KMRC, the implementing East-West Metro project, nor ITD Cementation, the company building the tunnels, had the experience or expertise to handle a crisis as big as this, which led to Wednesday’s confusion.

Bowbazar residents return to their houses on Wednesda