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Four posts for one officer

Asansol, July 17: Who is the busiest man in Bengal now? Amit Dutta — the additional district magistrate of Burdwan (NREGA), the additional district magistrate of Asansol, the administrator of Asansol Municipal Corporation and the administrator of Kulti municipality.

Dutta, a 45-year-old WBCS officer who has been serving as the ADM of Asansol and Burdwan (NREGA), was today given additional charge of the two civic bodies whose terms have ended, prompting protests by the Opposition and residents.

The term of Asansol Municipal Corporation ended yesterday and that of Kulti municipality today. As the government has been dragging its feet on holding elections to 17 civic bodies, including Asansol and Kulti, the new boards could not be formed and so the government has appointed the administrator.

Dutta, who lives in Durgapur, has been shuttling between Burdwan and Asansol, 100km apart, regularly since being made the Asansol ADM on August 12 last year. Now, he will have to look after the two civic bodies too.

“I will try my best to give time to the two civic bodies and ensure proper services are given to people in the Asansol and Kulti municipal areas,” he said.

As ADM of Burdwan (NREGA), Dutta’s task is to monitor work done under the 100-day rural job scheme in Bengal’s largest district. Dutta also heads the administration in Asansol as its ADM.

BJP leaders in Asansol alleged that the government had appointed the administrator because Trinamul was “scared of losing” the elections to the Asansol and Kulti civic bodies. Although Trinamul was in charge of the last boards of the two civic bodies, the party lost the Asansol Lok Sabha seat, of which Kulti is a part, to the BJP.

“It is surprising that the government has appointed as administrator an officer who is already the ADM of two regions. Asansol Municipal Corporation and Kulti municipality have 85 wards. How can one person handle so many responsibilities?” said Nirmal Karmakar, the BJP president of Asansol

Debajoyti Chakraborty, a trader in Asansol town, said: “There are problems such as inadequate drinking water supply and piling of garbage. Will the administrator get time to monitor civic work?”