Gautam Deb and Mamata Banerjee
Siliguri, July 29: Trinamul minister Gautam Deb today outlined several projects for Jalpaiguri but said the people there who were protesting the inclusion of Bhaktinagar in the Siliguri commissionerate were only trying to create “tension out of a non-issue.”
The north Bengal development minister did not mention the Youth Congress and the local Bar association, who have shouted the loudest to keep Bhaktinagar out of the new commissionerate, but said: “It is unethical to create tension and confusion out of a non-issue to reap political mileage. Those making such efforts and blowing things out of proportion in an unnecessary manner will be rejected by people and have to face their opposition.”
Bhaktinagar, though closer to Siliguri town, falls in Jalpaiguri district. Deb said such protests only impeded “development”.
“The state (government) is eager to develop each north Bengal district and the region as a whole. We are open to discuss problems and issues and keen to resolve them. But such detestable campaigns to pose hindrance in the way of development will not be accepted,” he said.
After a meeting with some senior citizens of Jalpaiguri at the PWD inspection bungalow this afternoon, the minister said: “We met some reputed people of Jalpaiguri today and clarified to them that the state government headed by Mamata Banerjee is keen on developing north Bengal…. The north Bengal development department has been formed to focus on the region and ensure its unhindered growth.”
He then listed some projects for Jalpaiguri. “A number of projects have been taken up in Jalpaiguri by the department and the state as a whole while some more are in the pipeline.”
The minister mentioned that his department had taken up the task to develop the sports complex in Jalpaiguri. “Our government has also set the ball rolling to open the circuit bench of Calcutta High Court. Construction of the boundary wall is in progress at the site where the permanent bench would come up,” he said.
The state law minister, Malay Ghatak, will visit Jalpaiguri on August 5, followed by a visit of the chief minister on September 1 when she will inaugurate the circuit bench, Deb said.
“There is a demand to set up a medical college in Jalpaiguri and the proposal would be put before the chief minister soon,” he said.
Deb said that to apprise Jalpaiguri residents about the ongoing work and future plans, “we have decided to organise a convention at the art gallery of the town next month”.
He mentioned the state was working on a second campus of the North Bengal University to be established in Jalpaiguri. He also said Rs 10 crore had been sanctioned for improving the Karala river that bifurcates the town. In Gazoldoba, the Teesta Barrage area located in the district, will have a tourism hub, he said.
“Similar infrastructure will come up in Murti near Gorumara and some of the tea estates in the Dooars to augment tourism industry,” the minister said.
Deb’s assertion, political observers said, follows a consistent opposition from a section of Jalpaiguri residents under the banner of Youth Congress against the inclusion of Bhaktinagar in the proposed Siliguri commissionerate.
Deb said: “The government dislikes any attempt to create confusion in the name of movement and opposition, which only impedes growth and execution of important projects. It is unfortunate that we have to witness such confusion, spread from certain quarters with malevolent interests.”
The Youth Congress and the Bar Association have held blockades, ceaseworks and demonstrations as well as submitted memoranda to the administration, demanding that the police station area be kept out of the commissionerate.
At a convention held in the town yesterday, a demand for a separate police commissionerate in Jalpaiguri was raised.