Mamata Banerjee had advised cleanliness while prescribing steps to fight dengue. “We must keep our surroundings clean for our well-being,” the chief minister had said. “This is our city, our state. If we keep it clean we will stay well.”
The day after, Metro walked through the chief minister’s office, Writers’ Buildings, to find out whether what was being preached was practised. Here is what we saw.
Where: The ground floor of Block A, behind the main block housing the chief minister’s chamber.
What we saw: A part of the pathway was turned into a garbage dump. The filth comprised plastic packets, rotten leftovers from the canteen the passage led to, food plates and heaps of paper. A cat was feasting on the leftovers.
Where: An alley between blocks A and B.
What we saw: Heaps of broken chairs and discarded benches were rotting in the rain. Pools of clean water were spotted between the furniture. An open drain flowed nearby, like the ones Mamata had spoken about on Tuesday at Writers’ while referring to the drains in Howrah that were breeding grounds of mosquitoes.
Where: Second-floor terrace, above the chief architect’s office.
What we saw: A cooling unit with huge fans stood on one side of the terrace, while the rest was dotted with puddles. The terrace had two outlets, one of which was choked with thick grass. The roof turns into a pond after a spell of heavy rain.
Where: An open space between blocks E and F, which house land, transport, personnel and administrative reforms, and other departments.
What we saw: The babus have made it a habit to throw waste through the windows into the open space. Water from a broken roof-pipe was adding to the mess. There was everything that could shock a public health expert — plastic pouches, food packets and open bottles where water had accumulated.
Asked about the filth, an official told Metro: “We will soon launch a drive to clean up the mess. The problem is there isn’t enough funds for maintenance.”