About eight houses in the Cossipore area have developed sudden cracks, forcing about 40 inhabitants of these residences to shift out to a nearby school as the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) engineers probe the cause and complete repairs of the structures.
Several families were left in distress and fear as their houses developed wide cracks. These houses are located on the banks of the Hooghly, near the Ratan Babu Ghat. Most of the affected families panicked and contacted the local councillor for help. The councillor of Ward 1, Kartick Chandra Manna reached the spot along with KMC engineers.
Mr Manna said that the engineers are working to find out the cause of these sudden cracks. “The KMC will also carry out the repair works. However, at present, the families had to be shifted to a nearby school for the safety of their lives. The engineers will determine whether these houses pose the risk of collapse.”
He assured KMC is making all arrangements for fooding and lodging of the affected families till it is safe for them to move back to their houses.
Commenting on whether any initial deductions were made by engineer teams as to what caused the cracks, he said “We cannot confirm without a thorough assessment of the situation. The engineers are still working on these houses. A possible reason could be the high tides in the river which may have exerted enough pressure on these structures during contact.”
The councillor however said that another possibility cannot be ruled out which concerns a drainage pipe passing under these buildings, leading to the river. He said this KMC drainage pipe was recently shut down by the orders of the National Green Tribunal. This was done to stop the wastewater from flowing into the river.
“It is a possibility that due to the shutdown of this pipe, the flow of water without finding any outlet into the river, is getting redirected and exerting pressure on these buildings, causing the cracks.”
The victims said they hope to return to their homes after repairs. The very thought of cracks developing on residential properties is a nightmare as Kolkata witnessed a similar scenario in Bowbazar where due to Metro tunnelling work, several houses cracked and some even had to be demolished, leaving many homeless.