Wiser after massive fire, Bengal mulls amendment to KMC Act

A recent survey has revealed that around 12,000 buildings, spread over 144 wards of the KMC, are in a 'dangerous' state because of lack of maintenance owing to disputes between their owners and tenants

By: PTI | Kolkata | Published: February 28, 2017 11:36 pm
Kolkata Municipal Corporation, KMC, Burrabazar, Burrabazar fire, Burrabazar fire kolkata, kolkata, latest news, latest india news Smoke erupts from a house-cum-godown as firefighters douse the fire in the building at Burrabazar area in Kolkata on Tuesday. (Source: PTI/Swapan Mahapatra)

After a massive overnight fire destroyed a century-old building at Burrabazar, the West Bengal government is planning an amendment to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Act regarding disputes between house owners and their tenants. According to a source at the state secretariat, a recent survey has revealed that around 12,000 buildings, spread over 144 wards of the KMC, are in a ‘dangerous’ state because of lack of maintenance owing to disputes between their owners and tenants.

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“There are 12,000 buildings identified as dangerous in 144 wards of the city’s municipal corporation area. These buildings are in a dilapidated condition due to litigations and disputes between the house-owners and the tenants,” the source said referring to the survey. The amendment is proposed to be introduced in the Assembly in the next session, beginning tomorrow, the source said on Tuesday.

“The change will introduce a few clauses financially beneficial for both the owners of dilapidated buildings and tenants,” he said adding a draft of the amendment was already in place. The state government has also decided to take strong steps to make citizens install fire safety measures while constructing buildings.

The directive came from the Chief Minister’s Office to ensure that citizens must follow fire safety measures while constructing new buildings, a source at the state secretariat said. “The Chief Minister wants to ensure that the fire safety guidelines are followed by everybody during construction of each and every building in the city to avoid any untoward incident,” the source said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also instructed state fire minister and Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee to ensure that the KMC guidelines were followed. An awareness programme asking people to follow the guidelines will be started soon, he said adding that the state government was not for forcible evacuation of people from their houses.

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