The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pollution force poser to police chief

Calcutta, March 31: In a stinging rebuke to the state police for not assisting the pollution control board, Calcutta High Court today asked the police chief to file an affidavit by April 7 on whether the board needs to raise a private force to take action against offenders.

Director-general Dinesh Vajpai, who retired today, had a sour farewell as the court pulled him up for not extending help to close down a market complex in Bolpur allegedly owned by a local CPM leader.

Justice Barin Ghosh passed the order this afternoon after it was told that the Bolpur police did not help the state electricity board carry out an order of the pollution control board to disconnect power supply to the market.

The court order followed a petition by Manas Roy, a Calcutta physician, who alleged that a plot owned by him in Bolpur had been grabbed by an influential CPM leader of the district to run shops and other establishments.

Roy told the court that in 1990, the district land and land revenue office in Birbhum leased the plot to him. The lease was confirmed in 2001. But when he went to Bolpur to take possession, he found that some shops had come up there.

“After a local enquiry, I came to know that one Rebati Ranjan Bhattacharya, known to be a high-profile CPM leader of the district, was running the market behind the scene,” Roy said and sought an order asking the police to help him take possession of the land.

Justice Ghosh ordered the Bolpur police to take appropriate action. When Roy approached the force with the order, the Bolpur police allegedly misbehaved with him and told him that it had not received any instruction to evict the settlers.

Roy again approached the high court. Justice Ghosh appointed a special officer and asked him to visit the place and file a report at the earliest.

The special officer filed the report today, corroborating Roy’s allegations. He added in his report that the pollution control board had conducted a probe in the area and found that the shops were causing environmental pollution.

“On the basis of its finding, the PCB had decided to close down the units and issued an order in this regard. But, when the local WBSEB employees went to seek police help, the Bolpur station declined to help them in disconnecting the power lines of the said units,” the report added.

New police chief

Shyamal Dutta took over as director-general of police from Dinesh Vajpai, who retired today.

Dutta was earlier director of the state Intelligence Branch.

After taking charge, Dutta announced that the police will start helplines for people to lodge poll-related complaints. “The helplines would be opened as per the Election Commission guidelines,” he said.

“The telephone helplines will be installed all over the state so that no one has a problem in reaching the police. However, though we want to open helplines in every police station, it might not be possible that way, but certainly all sensitive areas would be kept in mind,” Dutta said.

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