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Block hope leg-up for SMC added areas

Siliguri, June 21: Residents in the 14 added wards of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation and some rural areas in Jalpaiguri district got an assurance from north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb today that they may not need to go to Jalpaiguri, 50km away, for all official paperwork.

Residents in these areas had been demanding that the 14 added areas and the Rajganj block in Jalpaiguri be made in to a separate block so that they do not need to go to Jalpaiguri or Rajganj, 30km away, for all their government work.

“Creation of a separate block is a matter of administrative reform which needs to be handled by the state home department. The chief minister is aware of the issue and we will soon discuss it with her again,” Deb said over phone from Calcutta.

“The chief minister has already announced that Siliguri will have a police commissionerate. All these (added) areas will come under this commissionerate. This would relieve some problems of the residents, particularly police-related cases,” he said.

“Ration cards for residents living in the added wards are issued from the borough offices of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation. For work concerning other departments and for residents living in my constituency, but outside the SMC area, we have thought of another arrangement,” he said.

“Officials of the departments concerned from Jalpaiguri would be asked to come to Siliguri once or twice a week. They will sit at the SMC borough offices or at the north Bengal development department office on Hill Cart Road,” Deb said.

Deb said the work on the chief minister’s north Bengal secretariat was in progress.

“Once the secretariat becomes operational, it will house several important offices. We can then have the option to use the infrastructure and staff of the secretariat. People of these areas can visit the secretariat and get their works done,” he added.