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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Office grab finger at Trinamul

Durgapur, Jan. 28: Durgapur Steel Plant employees have lodged a police complaint accusing local Trinamul workers of occupying a co-operative society office near their residential quarters.

The employees of the SAIL-run plant, who lodged the complaint at Durgapur police station last night, said the under-construction building near City Centre had been turned into a club, where Trinamul held a free health camp inaugurated by Durgapur mayor Apurba Mukherjee.

The event in the single-storey building was organised under the banner of Vivekananda Sanskritik Parishad. Invitation cards were also sent to those living in the steel plant quarters, near which the building is located.

“Some youths led by local Trinamul leader Parimal Agasthi demanded that we give them the keys to the building. They wanted to set up a club there. When we refused, Agasthi became furious and told us they would break the locks. The youths have been occupying the building since last week. It is surprising that the mayor attended a health camp yesterday in a building that houses our co-operative society office,” said Anil Ghosh, the director of Durgapur-SAIL Employees’ Primary Common Service Co-operative Society Ltd.

The area falls under ward number 22 of Durgapur municipality, where the mayor is the councillor.

Trinamul said the under-construction building was frequented by criminals and drunkards which prompted party workers to turn it into an “office of our organisation to hold social activities”.

“The people who live in the quarters had been trying to sell the plot to a realtor who wanted to set up a shopping complex there. Now they are complaining against us because we resisted their move,” said Agasthi, who, the residents claimed, looks after civic work on behalf of the mayor in his ward.

The SAIL had in 1993 leased out a 150-acre plot to the steel plant employees. Of that, around 55 acres was allotted for roads, overhead water reservoirs, a children’s park, gardens and schools. On the remaining 95 acres, a duplex private housing came up where 1,875 families live now.

The building for the co-operative society office was being set up on 1.74 acres that was actually earmarked for schools but remained vacant as nobody showed interest.

B. R. Kanungo, the steel plant spokesperson, said he was not aware of the Trinamul encroachment and would seek a report from the co-operative society.

Mayor Mukherjee refused comment.

Although most police officers remained tightlipped, an officer at Durgapur police station just said “a probe has been initiated”.