Kolkata: Underground construction for the East-West Metro at Bowbazar in central Kolkata led to cracks in several adjoining buildings. Officials of the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRCL) said excavation of soil to dig a ‘blind spot’ under the Howrah-bound tunnel led to water seepage, leading to the cracks. The implementing agency of the 16.5 km East-West Metro Corridor, will connect Sector V with Howrah Maidan.
According to KMRCL, nine buildings have been damaged due to the accident. Officials of the Building Department of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) put this number as 13. After a preliminary assessment of the damage, KMRC officials have sought permission to partially demolish two buildings 16 and 16/1, Durga Pituri Lane as repairs were not possible, they are completely damaged. Demolition work started on Monday evening on 16/1.
The owner of the second building has reportedly objected to the demolition. There are different types of cracks. According to KMRCL, 154 people have been displaced so far. They have been shifted to hotels. The accommodation and related expenses are being borne by KMRCL. Over 20 jewelers had to close their shops on Wednesday night. KMRCL, already working with several agencies, has sought help from IIT Roorkee. A team is expected soon. KMC has brought in professors from the Civil Engineering Department of Jadavpur University.
A KMRCL official said the JU team will study a series of reports from KMRCL before deciding on a concrete action plan. KMC and JU experts are assessing the damage and will recommend what should be done. For underground work, we will depend on the feedback of the IIT team. KMRCL officials said the seepage of water stopped by 10 pm on Thursday but the concrete used to stop the leak is now a challenge. He said the mass amounted to about 220 cubic meters and it would take at least a few months to remove it. Any further underground work can be done only after the concrete has been removed.