Siliguri, Sept. 11: The Trinamul Congress-led state government is pumping in funds for repair of roads and slum development in Siliguri in an apparent bid to show that the Congress-run municipal corporation had failed to deliver.
The Siliguri Municipal Corporation cannot take up projects because of a freeze on the spending by the state government following the civic body’s failure to pass the budget for the current financial year.
North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb today said: “Considering the pathetic condition of roads across Siliguri, the state municipal affairs department has decided to allocate Rs 75 lakh for their repair. The money would be given to the SMC which has failed to take up repairs in town, causing immense hardship to thousands of commuters everyday. The civic body should now take up the repair on a war-footing.”
Deb also said the municipal affairs department had sanctioned Rs 16 crore for two central projects for slum development in Siliguri.
The north Bengal development department has also decided to take up the repair of two-three other roads, for which Rs 10 crore would be spent. The minister said some road repairs would be taken up by the SJDA also.
Observers said Trinamul was announcing the projects for Siliguri to drive home the point that the Congress had failed to meet the people’s aspirations and only the state government was interested in the development of Siliguri.
“As the polls to the SMC are scheduled for next year, Trinamul is desperate to secure a clear majority. Trinamul will definitely highlight the projects in the campaign for the civic polls,” said an observer.
The minister said the Trinamul councillors had taken exception to the cancellation of the SMC meeting scheduled for today by the deputy mayor.
“The Congress did not attend the board meeting called by erstwhile chairman Nantu Paul on August 31. So, he adjourned meeting to September 10. After he resigned from the post, the deputy mayor, who was officiating as the chairperson, cancelled the September 10 meeting. Our councillors have objected to the cancellation and have sent a letter to the state municipal affairs department.”
Mayor Gangotri Datta said: “The charge that the SMC has failed to perform has been raised for political reasons. We are putting our best efforts and providing all-round civic services to the people.”