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Row over civic budget

The row over the civic budget rocked the Calcutta Municipal Corporation headquarters on Monday, with Trinamul Congress councillors squatting in front of the mayor’s office and rival employee groups organising rallies on the premises.

Trinamul councillors, led by Javed Ahmed Khan, squatted on the passage leading to the offices of mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya and commissioner Arnab Ray, demanding that the “illegal” budget be withdrawn.

The councillors said the Left Front board had violated the CMC Act 1980 by getting the budget passed without tabling the schedule of establishment, which carries a detailed list of the number of sanctioned posts, employees, casual workers and the salary expenditure.

The sit-in began around 11am and the mayor had to wriggle past the councillors to enter his office at 1pm. The protest was withdrawn only after Bhattacharyya left office around 6pm.

While the mayor was still in his room, the Trinamul councillors shouted “Withdraw the illegal budget” and “Gali gali mein shor hai, CPM chor hai”. This was followed by jostling between the councillors and their Left rivals.

A few minutes later, a section of employees backed by the CPM took out a rally, shouting “Gali gali mein shor hai, Trinamul chor hai” and dubbing Mamata Banerjee’s party “anarchist”. This prompted the Trinamul-backed union to organise another procession in the office compound.

The mayor denied the budget was illegal, saying the civic body had taken the government’s permission to present it without getting the schedule of establishment passed.

Opposition leader Khan alleged the mayor was scared to table the schedule because it would have revealed that the CPM-led board had recruited over 5,000 partymen illegally.

On Saturday, Khan and his colleagues had gheraoed commissioner Ray on the same issue from 10am till police rescued him at 1.15pm.

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