Siliguri, July 8: North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb today unveiled a host of projects that he said would “render a facelift to Siliguri”, a move touted as a bid by the Trinamul Congress to boost the party’s prospects in the civic elections scheduled for later this year.
The minister said some of the projects had already been taken up and others would be initiated shortly.
“We have charted an elaborate development plan for Siliguri and its surroundings. A series of projects will be executed in the town to improve infrastructure as well as to provide better amenities to the residents and visitors,” Deb told a news conference here this afternoon.
“There will be welcome gates at the entry points, footpaths along certain stretches of principal roads like Hill Cart Road, Bidhan Road and Sevoke Road, LED lights and sophisticated system to clear garbage through automated machines. We are determined to render a facelift to Siliguri, which has emerged as one of the principal cities in the east and the north-east India,” he added.
The minister said the projects (see chart) were being executed by his department and the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority and they were expected to be completed by November.
“Siliguri is the gateway to all tourist destinations in the Darjeeling hills and the Dooars. Tourists come to Siliguri quite frequently. To ensure that they have a good impression of Siliguri as they enter the town, our government is striving to improve civic services and road conditions and create places of entertainment. My department and agencies like North Bengal Development Council and the SJDA will work together for the execution of the projects. We plan to complete the works by November this year,” he added.
The beautification of the Baghajatin Park has already been kicked off with a boundary wall being built. “The park will have a track for joggers and landscaping will also be done. Work is in progress at Dinabandhu Mancha (an auditorium). We have refurbished the exhibition hall and installed a lift at the building,” said the minister.
Observers said the projects would be finished just ahead of the elections to the Siliguri Municipal Corporation so that Trinamul could get mileage in the campaign.
“Trinamul leaders are aware that the Congress and the Left Front will question the state government’s initiatives for the development of Siliguri. Deb has said the projects will be completed by November, just ahead of the civic elections. The polls are likely to be held in November or afterwards. Trinamul intends to use these works to score in the campaign,” said an observer.