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Cloud on district wish

Alipurduar, Dec. 26: Alipurduar residents who hoped the chief minister would declare the town a district this time are disappointed.

The chief minister’s itinerary does not include Alipurduar but an event in Pundibari in Cooch Behar, 30km away.

“We thought that the chief minister would visit Alipurduar tomorrow and declare it a district. But recently, some local Trinamul leaders informed us that she is not coming this time. We are upset. If she lets us know what the problem is in declaring Alipurduar a district, we will try our best to solve it,” said Paritosh Das, the secretary of Alipurduar Byabsayee Samiti.

Mamata had last year announced that Jalpaiguri district would be bifurcated. Several administrative officials of Jalpaiguri had visited Alipurduar, arousing hopes in many residents.

Traders said local Trinamul leaders went around telling residents that Alipurduar would soon be declared a district.

Some leaders even announced that Mamata would be visiting Alipurduar on December 27, they added.

According to sources, administrative officials even met police officers to discuss arrangements for the chief minister’s visit to Alipurduar.

But residents learnt a couple of days ago that Mamata would attend a programme in Pundibari tomorrow and then go to Nagrakata the next day before heading to Calcutta.

Proshanto Narayan Majumder, the vice-president of Trinamul state committee, said: “Till now, I have information that the chief minister would attend two programs — one at Pundibari and the other at Nagrakata.”

Trinamul sources said several party leaders in Alipurduar are embarrassed because they had gone around telling people about the chief minister’s visit to the town. “But now, they have to face several questions from the residents,” a Trinamul leader said.

Nirmal Das, a former MLA from the RSP as well as the secretary of Jela Nirman Dabi Moncho, said: “Whatever the chief minister is doing is for the rural polls next year. During her visits, she should have gone to the closed gardens. She should have also declared Alipurduar a district. She has cancelled her program in Alipurduar.

“It is the dream of people there that Alipurduar would be made a district. If she says the lack of infrastructure is the reason for not declaring it, then there are many districts in the state where district offices are run from rented buildings. Alipurduar has much more infrastructure than such places.”