Expressing regret over the damage caused to the residential buildings in Bowbazar in Kolkata during underground work for the East-West Metro line, CN Jha, the managing director of Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC), on Sunday assured all assistance to those affected.
Mr Jha, during a meeting with the affected residents and North Kolkata MP Sudip Bandopadhyay, stated that that six or seven months hence, following the completion of underground work in the area, an agency will be appointed for construction and repair of the affected houses.
Some of the aggrieved residents, who had to shift to hotels with families in the wake of the cracks that have developed on their houses on May 11, registered their concerns over the work being undertaken by the KMRC, noting that damage to homes, caused by tunnelling work for Metro, were recorded in 2019, too.
"We are extremely sad for what happened. We also have families and know what it feels like to stay at some place away from own home," Mr Jha told the residents.
Mr Jha, on his part, tried to explain that the "situation had become such that KMRC, the executing agency for the East-West Metro project, could not do anything to prevent the damage".
"Six to seven months from now, once the work is over, an agency will be appointed for construction and repair of the affected houses. A study will be undertaken following which a decision will be made on which ones need repair and which were to be built afresh," he said.
Local MLA Nayna Bandopadhyay, who was also present at the meeting, said that it is only normal for the residents to have misgivings, many of whom have been living there for generations.
"The residents want a proper roadmap for their rehabilitation. They are angry over the prevailing uncertainty at present," she told reporters later.
N C Karmali, director (project) of KMRC, had earlier said that the mishaps occurred owing to water seepage "despite all precautions taken during the excavation work" that was being carried out to join two tunnels – one originating from Sealdah and the other from Esplanade.
A top KMRC official maintained that measures were being taken to stop the water seepage.
Residents of the affected houses, which are likely to be demolished, said they were at a loss trying to figure out where to store their belongings.
At least nine houses suffered structural damage in Durga Pituri Lane of Bowbazar on May 11, with more than 140 locals being shifted to hotels.
Similar situation had occurred in the area on August 31, 2019, when a tunnel boring machine (TBM) hit an aquifer, leading to severe ground subsidence and collapse of several buildings.
The East West Metro corridor -- connecting Howrah Maidan with Sector V in Salt Lake -- is currently partially operational.
Out of the 16.6-km-long Metro line, underground corridor constitutes 10.8 km, with the tunnel passing below the Hooghly river, according to the KMRC official.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)