The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police temple on health land

Raiganj, June 13: Police in the district are now busy building a temple. And that on a plot where the health department was to have its only office bloc in North Dinajpur.

The Kali temple is coming up in the district headquarters, within shouting distance of the superintendent of police’s office at Karnojora on the outskirts of Raiganj and despite protests by the health authorities.

“We have lodged several complaints with the district police but to no avail. We now plan to write to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee,” assistant chief medical officer of health Animesh Roy said.

The one-bigha plot is next to the district police line housing the reserved force, a stone’s throw from the offices of the district magistrate and the chief medical officer of health.

Health officials said the department did not have an office of its own in the district and so the land and land revenue office gave it the plot under Kamlabari gram panchayat’s Kanojora mouza in April.

In no time, the department drew up a plan to construct a building at a cost of Rs 60 lakh and submitted it to the public works department for approval.

When the temple’s construction started on the plot about a month ago, Roy said he met the superintendent of police and requested him to stop the “illegal” work. “He told me he would look into it but no action was taken to stop the construction,” the health official said.

The chief medical officer of health then sent a protest letter to district magistrate Aariz Aftab. A complaint was also lodged with the Raiganj police station.

As the local police station refused to intervene, health officials met the district magistrate and zilla parishad sabhadhipati Nanigopal Roy, a CPM leader. On June 2, the health department urged them to stop the construction.

On the order of the district magistrate, the subdivisional officer conducted an inquiry and found the police guilty. He asked the police to stop work on the temple, but the law enforcement agency took no notice.

“There is no question of stopping the construction. The land has been under our control for a long time,” superintendent of police Arun Kumar Sharma said, justifying the illegal construction.

The top police officer of the district said he had not received “any directive from anybody” to stop the construction.

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