Residents relocated at midnight as Kolkata East-West route faces cracks

On Thursday 36 Bowbazar residents were relocated after midnight as cracks that had surfaced the past day on their house at 5/2 Gour De Lane began widening.

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KOLKATA (Metro Rail News): On Thursday 36 Bowbazar residents were relocated after midnight as cracks that had surfaced the past day on their house at 5/2 Gour De Lane began widening.

Gour De Lane is in the zone where buildings fell after one of the tunnel boring machines digging the East-West Metro tunnel hit an aquifer previous year leading to large-scale subsidence. KMRC implementing agency of the project, however, ruled out again on the August 31 disaster regarding the host of precautionary measures they have selected for the 2nd phase of tunnelling.

Kolkata residents panicked but as buildings along with the narrow bylane off Bowbazar formed cracks in the last 36-hrs. Crack meter readings on the terrace of 5/2 Gour De Lane showed that fissures had increased around 4 times from, on Wednesday 4.5mm-16mm on Thursday.

One of the owners Tiloki Kesari took a round of the well-maintained 3-storey construction that had passed the compulsory building condition survey initiated to assess the stability of structures ahead of the tunnelling.

Unable to sleep the night at the hotel where they have been put up because of the emergency relocation, in the morning he had got to check the extent of the damage. “It took 40 min to get my immobile mother down the narrow staircase,” he replied.

Questioned why this building that fell on the Tunnel Boring Machines influence zone of 25 meters wasn’t evacuated before the tunnelling, an official stated, “All the parameters suggested that it was a healthy structure.” An electrical goods trader at Tiretta Bazar Kesari said, “Yes, we have managed the property that my grandfather had purchased 125 yrs ago. It seems to be falling apart suddenly.”

He along with his family were evacuated when Chundee, the TBM which was digging the westbound tunnel hit the aquifer below the nearby Durga Pithuri Lane on August 31.

The machine is now lying defunct 14 meters under the ground. Its twin, Urvi, continued tunnelling on Feb 18 on Calcutta high court’s orders. “In August, there are some cracks had appeared on the walls of our building. But that was nothing compared to these,” Kesari stated. Kolkata Metro and ITD-Cementation contracted to develop the last leg of Kolkata East-West Metro are taking some measures to encourage the Kesari residence.

The complete building has been propped up with iron beams. Grout mixtures are being injected. “The residents shouldn’t panic. If they are feeling insecure we are set to shift them to hotels,” a KMRC spokesperson stated. Debashish Pradhan 33 a resident of 4C Gour De Lane stated, “And what happens after we return from the hotel? The tunnelling work should be stopped immediately.”

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