Original owners of gutted shops to get compensation

The Bengal Post

Darjeeling-The Darjeeling civic body on Monday said they would only give building permits to victims of the recent fire if they were original owners of the gutted properties and had paid municipal taxes. On March 8, five shops, six houses and a hotel were burnt in a fire on H D Lama Road with several more structures partially damaged.
“We have called the victims that have lost their houses and shops in the fire to discuss matters of reconstruction. We have found that except for the hotel which was damaged in the fire, the rest belong to four brothers who live somewhere in Siliguri,” said Darjeeling Municipality chairman Amar Singh Rai. “Except for giving permission to make repairs to the hotel, we cannot allow the others to build as it would only create complications for us later on. Shopkeepers and residents of the houses that have been burnt have said that they would bring NOCs from the owners and if they produce them, we would allow them to build, provided that they follow municipality norms,” said Rai. According to the municipality chairman, the new structures, if allowed, would have to be made of concrete the same number of floors as earlier.
“Other than that, we have also asked the victims to produce papers of the municipality taxes they should have paid. If we find that they have not paid their taxes, then we would not allow them to build until they clear their pending bills,” said Rai.
Worried about a si­m­ilar fire breaking out in the town area, the civic body is also thinking of working out new plans as precautionary measures. “We have noticed that ti­me and again, fires seem to be starting in wooden houses, so, we will try and come up with a plan for wooden structures as a preventive measure,” said Rai.

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