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CPM opens, rival reopens

Asansol, Aug. 17: Trinamul minister Malay Ghatak “inaugurated” on Independence Day a park in Asansol that was opened four years ago by the CPM’s local MP and MLA.

The earlier stone plaque, perched on the hands of a figurine and mentioning the names of then Asansol MP Bansagopal Chowdhury and MLA Pratibha Ranjan Mukherjee as the inaugurators, has been replaced by a new one. This has the names of law minister Ghatak and Asansol mayor Tapas Bandyopadhyay.

The name of the park has been tweaked from Spandan Udyan to Spandan Recreation Park.

The Asansol-Durgapur Development Authority (ADDA) has hired a private agency for the upkeep of the park. The agency has started to collect an entry fee of Rs 2 per person after the second inauguration, a move that has displeased regular visitors.

The then ADDA chairman, Chowdhury, had decided to build the park on a one-acre plot the PWD donated to ADDA on October 3, 2008.

Chowdhury termed “amusing” ADDA’s move to inaugurate the park a second time. “I had taken the initiative to set up the park so that senior citizens have a place for their morning stroll. Children also frequent the park.”

Chowdhury said that as ADDA had not taken up any project in the 13 months that Trinamul has been at its helm, “it has no option but to serve old wine in a new bottle”.

Bandyopadhyay, who is also the ADDA chairman, said he was “not aware” that the park had been inaugurated earlier. “ADDA had built the park four years ago but I did not know it had been inaugurated. We have hired a private agency to beautify the park. There was no infrastructure here earlier. But now, the agency has started joyrides for children,” he said.

Ghatak said: “The park has got a new look.”

A retired IISCO employee said: “If I have to pay to enter the park, I will think twice before coming here.”