Asansol, Oct. 14: A Trinamul Youth Congress faction has accused the block president of Jamuria in Asansol of encouraging coal smuggling and extorting money from pilferers.
In a complaint lodged with Trinamul Youth Congress Burdwan (industrial) president Abhijit Ghatak last week, the vice-president of the party’s youth unit accused Jamuria block II president Gopinath Patra of collecting money from pilferers and putting pressure on police not to crack down on them.
Udit Singha, the Trinamul Youth Congress vice-president in Jamuria, said pilfering had stopped after the party-led government came to power but resumed in some pockets because of Patra.
“I have told our district president to take action against Patra. He is patronising coal smuggling,” he said.
A Trinamul leader from Jamuria, Mukul Banerjee, said at least 25 trucks carrying smuggled coal passed through Dobrana village, where Patra lives, regularly at night. “He collects money from the pilferers,” Banerjee said.
Patra denied the allegations and sought to turn the tables on Banerjee. “Banerjee and his aides are patronising coal and scrap iron smuggling from collieries in the area. I am trying to stop it and putting pressure on the police to take action against them. So I am being targeted,” Patra said.
Police sources said several Trinamul factions were encouraging pilfering. “If one faction is encouraging coal pilfering, another is trying to stop it as it is not getting a share of the booty. This is sparking feuds,” a police officer said.