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News : Kolkata Police Launches Helpline for Building Promoters to Lodge Complaints of Extortion

#contactcenterworld, @kolkatapolice

Kolkata, India, Apr 10, 2024 - The city police launched a helpline for building promoters to lodge complaints of extortion.

A meeting was held between Kolkata Police officers and some developers at the city police headquarters in Lalbazar on Tuesday to understand their problems and areas of concern, police said.

A senior IPS officer said Kolkata Police will have "zero tolerance" towards any attempt at extortion.

The helpline number — 9432611000 — became functional on Tuesday, the police said.

"A helpline has been launched exclusively for the promoters and developers to report complaints of extortion," said the officer at Lalbazar on Tuesday.

The launch of the helpline was an indication of the existence of an extortion racket in the city.

A developer on the southern fringes of the city who did not want to be named said "everyone" knows about the problem but this was the first time the police have tried to address it.

"Everyone knows that we (promoters) often get harassed by syndicates (involved in supplying buildings materials). But who will take the risk of lodging a complaint because most of them are politically connected? This is the first time a helpline has been set up to address the problem," he said.

The move came less than a month after a five-storey unauthorised under-construction building collapsed in Garden Reach, killing 13 persons.

While investigating the collapse, the police have stumbled upon the names of some government officials who allegedly extorted money from the developer of the building, sources said.

Instances of forcing promoters to pay "protection money" or buy poor construction materials at a high rate from suppliers close to political leaders are not uncommon in Kolkata.

There have been frequent reports of developers being forced to take construction materials from "syndicates" irrespective of the quality of the materials.

"We can act if we receive a specific complaint. But many such cases go unreported because people are scared to lodge a complaint. We are assuring them that their complaints will be dealt with very seriously," said another officer.

In 2017, members of a syndicate had interrupted a renovation work at the residence of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s grand-nephew and the then Trinamul MP Sugata Bose and threatened the family to take construction materials only from them.

The syndicates are also involved in rivalry over bagging contracts to demolish old buildings.

Sources said developers are often pressured to award high-value contracts for demolishing old buildings to syndicates.

In 2022, a clash had broken out between two factions of the ruling party over a contract to demolish a building in Lake Gardens, near the house of Trinamul MP Sougata Roy.

#contactcenterworld, @kolkatapolice

Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent

About Kolkata Police:
Company LogoThe Kolkata Police Force is one of the six police forces of the Indian state of West Bengal. Kolkata Police has the task of policing the metropolitan area of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India, as defined under the Calcutta Police Act, 1866 and the Calcutta Suburban Police Act,1866.
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