Conservancy workers remove garbage at Mallaguri in Siliguri; (right) a road being repaired at Pradhannagar of town on Monday. Pictures by Kundan Yolmo
Siliguri, Oct. 1: The four Trinamul Congress members mayor-in-council who are in charge of departments dealing with the day-to-day life of the people in Siliguri have decided to leave behind the acrimony with the Congress and work for better civic services ahead of the Pujas.
While the public works department has started repairing roads, the conservancy section engaged 150 extra workers to keep the town spick and span before the festivities kick in.
Apart from the public works and conservancy departments, Trinamul also holds charge of electricity and drinking water at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation.
“The departments held by Trinamul are making necessary arrangements to ensure a hassle-free Puja for the people. We will make sure that people don’t face any inconvenience during the Pujas,” said Krishna Pal, the secretary general of Darjeeling district Trinamul, who is also the MMIC (PWD).
The assurance would be a solace for the people who apprehended that the rift between the Congress and Trinamul over SMC chairperson Nantu Paul’s defection would affect the civic services during the festival. The fear was strengthened by the walkout of the Left Front and Congress councillors at a board meeting presided over by Paul on Saturday. They boycotted the meeting, saying Paul could no longer hold the post as he had switched to Trinamul from the Congress.
“Many roads are in a bad state across Siliguri; garbage is strewn all around and several streetlights have fused bulbs. All these need immediate attention of the SMC as the Puja is just weeks away. There were a lot of political developments at the civic body last week and we feel they might affect the administration,” said Dipankar Das, a Hakimpara resident.
However, Krishna Pal today said the residents needn’t worry and the repair of the roads and garbage removal had already started.
“The SMC has sanctioned Rs 2 crore to repair roads across the civic area. The board has also received Rs 3 crore as an additional assistance from the north Bengal development department and the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority for road restoration. The work has already commenced in different wards. Our aim is to provide basic facilities to the residents and we don’t want to spoil the festive mood of the people because of political upheaval at the SMC,” he said.
Krishna Pal had said yesterday that Trinamul wouldn’t withdraw support to the Congress-led board till the Puja as such an impasse would hit the civic services during the festival.
Dulal Dutta, the MMIC (conservancy), said the SMC had recruited 150 additional casual workers to clear the town of the trash.
“Along with the existing workforce of 250, an additional 150 casual workers have been pressed into service to keep Siliguri clean. They will continue to work till idols are immersed. Apart from that, we have also started spraying mosquito repellents and distributing bleaching powder through five-borough offices.”
The mayor, Gangotri Dutta, held a meeting with all MMICs this afternoon. After the meeting, Dutta said she had requested all the MMICs to take necessary steps for better services in their respective wards.
“They were told that the people should not face any inconveniences during the festive days,” added the mayor.