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Realtors target ponds in Salt Lake

No matter how hard the government tries to save the waterbodies, ponds are being filled up in parts of Salt Lake. The practice was brought to light last week when Bidhannagar Municipality filed a first information report against owners of a one-bigha pond in Mahishbathan, in the added area of the township.

“Some promoters and a section of the administration have formed an unholy nexus and are carrying on such activities in the township,” said municipality chairman Dilip Gupta on Friday. “We do not have the infrastructure to curb such practices. Whenever we receive complaints, we take action,” Gupta added.

Municipality officials said landfill is rampant in the Mahisbathan, Nayapatti and Polenite areas.“We do receive complaints of waterbodies being filled up and unauthorised buildings being built on them,” admitted Baidyanath Mandal, municipality executive officer. “We refer the complaints to the Block Land and Land Revenue department and its officials probe the cases and take action,” he said. The recent FIR lodged against the pond-owners followed such investigation.

Officials said that recently, a few on-going constructions were demolished by the civic authorities because these buildings were unauthorised. “The added area is located between the main township of Salt Lake and Rajarhat. So, it has become the target of real-estate dealers, as the land price here is spiralling,” said a local CPM leader.

He alleged that in several cases, the police did not take any action against those who were filling up the waterbodies. The CPM leader, who opted for anonymity, said the trend was to construct highrises without sanctioning plans.

“The promoters have their own building plans which they do not get sanctioned from the municipality. Still, constructions continue,” chairman Dilip Gupta said. These buildings were impinging on the infrastructure development of the added area, he added.

Soma Pramanik, CPM councillor of ward 14, admitted that landfills were difficult to check. However, local residents and the ward committees “are active and complain whenever such cases are detected”.

The Opposition Trinamul Congress alleged that a section of the ruling party was involved in the illegal practice and municipal officials were unable to rein them in. “There is no comprehensive plan of action against landfills,” alleged Anupam Dutta, leader of the Opposition in the municipality.

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