Former Union Minister Debi Prasad Chattopadhyaya escapes unhurt as ceiling partially collapses in Park Mansions

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil presenting Padma Vibhushan Award 2009 to Prof. Debi Prasad Chattopadhyaya at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on April 14, 2009.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

One of Bengal's eminent scholars, a former Union Minister and Padma Vibhushan awardee Professor Debi Prasad Chattopadhyaya had a narrow escape in the wee hours of Wednesday when chunks of cement fell from the ceiling of his house. The family members of the professor, a two-time Rajya Sabha MP, alleged that the owners of the apartment are not "allowing" them to repair the house. The owners, the Artistery House, did not respond to phone calls.

A portion of the ceiling disintegrated and fell on octogenreian professor's bed in the 109-year-old heritage building, Park Mansions. Chunks of cement had fallen on the professor who was lying on bed. The ceiling of Kolkata's iconic mansion is about 18-20 feet high and thus the professor "survived miraculously," said Kajal Das Adhikary, his attendant.

"When something falls from such a height, it hits hard," she said. Ms Adhikary too was hurt. His family members said that falling of chunks from ceiling had happened several times earlier.

From 2016 onward, the former minister’s daughter in law Supriya Chattopadhyaya sent several letters to the managers of Park Mansions for permission to carry out repairs. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation [KMC] rules for repair of such buildings require permission. Commissioner Khalil Ahmed directed Ms Chattopadhyaya to meet KMC officials for permission to repair the building. Permission was sent too to the owners by the KMC, but the owners refused to initiate the repair work.

"Though, we are willing to bear the cost of the repair," Ms Chattopadhyaya said.

As tenants, the Chattopadhyayas are unable to do anything without a word from the owners. The family, she said, are “now in a state of panic” about safety of the professor who edited the 100-plus volume of History of Indian Science Philosophy and Culture.

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Printable version | Oct 15, 2021 1:34:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/former-union-minister-debi-prasad-chattopadhyaya-escapes-unhurt-as-ceiling-partially-collapses-in-park-mansions/article26461204.ece

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