KOLKATA: Thirty more houses developed deep cracks in Bowbazar in the past 24 hours following continuous subsidence because of water seepage into the East-West Metro tunnel after the tunnel boring machine hit a water pocket five days ago.
Around 100 more people residing in the buildings were evacuated as the houses were declared unsafe.
The total number of houses damaged because of the underground mishap has gone up to more than 80 and a total of 600 people had to be evacuated. A West Bengal minister is among the affected residents.
Initially, the houses located at Durga Pituri Lane and Syakrapara Lane off BB Ganguly Street in central Kolkata suffered damages.
However, inspection below and above the ground by the engineers revealed on Friday that houses on adjoining Hidaram Banerjee Lane, Gaur Dey Lane and BB Ganguly Street could be in danger as well.
A large section of residents in Bowbazar, the city’s gold jewellery manufacturing hub, became homeless overnight and they have been living like refugees since past five days. The Metro authorities arranged accommodation for them in hotels in central Kolkata.
The Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) authorities will start disbursing Rs 5 lakh compensation for each family from Monday.
"In the first phase, 80 families will be given compensation. We have asked the Kolkata Municipal Corporation authorities to identify the legitimate families entitled to get the compensation," said an official of Metro authorities.
According to sources in the municipal corporation, there were many families who were living in the affected buildings as tenants and sub-tenants.
"We will identify them and it is yet to be decided what will be their fate," said an official of the corporation.
Firhad Hakim, the mayor of the corporation, said initially it was thought that a few houses were in danger.
"With new areas coming in the picture, the disaster has gone beyond the local management. I am not suggesting that the KMRC officials did not try to address the problem but it seems to have gone beyond their reach,’’ he said.
Foreign experts, who were flown in by KMRC, have told engineers that the entire area should be evacuated for the sake of public safety.
"We are trying to stop the flow of water in the tunnel. We have shifted people to hotels and efforts are on to shift them to an empty complex that we already have in central Kolkata,’’ said Manas Sarkar, the managing director of KMRC.