KOLKATA: The abandoned central government staff quarters located at the posh Dover Place in south Kolkata have almost turned into a haunted house. With all 40 flats lying vacant, the place has turned into a den of anti-social activities and serves as a garbage dump, creating problems for residents living beside the complex. With no signs of improvement, local residents are planning to appeal to the civic authorities to look into the matter.
Senior residents of the locality said that the quarters comprising 10 two-storeyed buildings of four flats each was built way back in 1951 by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) for central government employees. Residents who have been living in the locality for more than 50 years say the complex had once been a prestigious address that housed several senior officials of various central government offices.
Things, however, changed over the last few years with many residents having left at the end of their tenure. Locals said there was a plan to reconstruct the old building complexes, but the plan did not work. The last family that lived in the complex left almost a year ago. Since then, the housing complex, which lacks maintenance, has become a headache for local residents.
A TOI team that visited the complex recently found garbage dumped in front of the quarters, from which an unbearable stench was emanating. As for the premises, plastic and other waste was lying strewn all over.
“The situation is pathetic,” said a long-time resident of the locality, who did not want to be named. “Garbage piles up along the lanes leading to the complex, creating health and hygiene problems. Nobody knows what goes on inside at night. Many suspicious outsiders frequent the complex after sundown, and it turns into a den for antisocials. Burglaries have increased in this locality in the last six months,” he added.
Recently, local residents noticed some youths get off a car they parked in front of the complex and enter. “A few days ago, my son was playing and the ball went towards the complex. When he went to fetch the ball, two unknown youths caught hold of him and asked what he was doing there,” said another local.
“The abandoned housing complex is turning out to be a daily headache for us. Residents like us are increasingly getting worried about the situation. We are planning to submit a joint petition to the local civic ward committee, asking them to do something about it,” said Gopal Naskar, another long-time resident.
Local Trinamool Congress councillor Dipti Mukherjee of Ward 86 said they could not do anything, as the complex is under CPWD’s jurisdiction. “The civic authorities cannot do anything as the housing belongs to CPWD. It is they who have to take an initiative,” she said.
State PWD secretary A R Bardhan said they can only inform the CPWD authorities. “We cannot take any steps or even conduct an inspection. However, we can request the CPWD authorities to look into the matter,” he said.