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Deb looks for Cong civic flaws

- Trinamul to focus on specifics in shortcomings; minister lines up agitation

Siliguri, Sept. 23: Gautam Deb, the minister for north Bengal development, today said his party, Trinamul, would obtain specific details on Siliguri Municipal Corporation projects before it withdraws support from the Congress-headed board.

Deb and Trinamul councillors who held a meeting last Friday had hinted that stepping out of the board was just a matter of time and that they were waiting for the go-ahead from the state leadership.

Today, they said they want specific information from the civic authorities.

“We held a meeting with the commissioner of SMC and other officials and engineers yesterday. It was an administrative meeting during which we took stock of the situation at SMC,” Deb said today.

“Our councillors, some who hold posts at the SMC, will write to the mayor, asking her to mention in detail what steps have been taken by her to plug the gaps, resolve the problems and remove the hindrances which are affecting the functioning of the civic body and were pointed out by us during talks held since July last year.”

“We would, however, not take any decision in a rush as we are committed to the people. The Durga Puja is ahead and proper civic services are required during the festival days. We will not take any hurried decision so that an impasse is created in the civic board and the civic services are affected,” he added.

Political observers said that the insistence to obtain answers from mayor Gangotri Datta is a part of the strategy to nail the Congress for its failure to run the civic body properly.

“Though it is an open secret that the Congress-led board could not deliver even the minimum facilities, Trinamul needs more specific and concrete details. The leaders are keen to obtain such information as the party has to explain its move to quit the board to residents,” an observer said.

Deb, while elaborating on the lapses of the civic board, said: “A Congress councillor has demonstrated at the SMC premises against anomalies and corruption in the building cell, a department held by Congress. Seven Congress councillors (there are 15 from the Congress) have boycotted the board meeting last month, protesting the board and the mayor’s failure to address local issues. All these indicate that the even party colleagues don’t bank on the mayor.”