Residents of Salt Lake’s AG block are angry with the township’s authorities for allowing an LPG gas godown to be set up on a ‘green verge’ in the area. They are also upset over the 22 trees that were felled on the spot where the godown was to be constructed. Their protests have forced work to be stalled.
Sanction was granted to a cooking-gas retail agency to set up a godown at AG-102 by the urban development department. The plot is on the ‘green verge’ along the Keshtopur canal. Earlier, the godown was situated near the sluice gate. It was demolished for the construction of Amartya Abasan.
“There are already two gas godowns in the block,” complained Nandagopal Bhattacharya, secretary of AG Block Welfare Association, on Thursday. Barely 30 feet from the godowns stand a number of residences, apart from Bhaba Atomic Research Centre and Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics. “The existing godowns are a threat already and the new one will add to the risk,” he felt.
On September 6, contractors of Salt Lake municipality started cutting down the trees. Angry residents approached the municipality and the felling was halted. “We demand that the authorities cancel the sanction for the new godown and remove the old ones,” asserted Bhattacharya.
The block association has proposed that the godowns be set up on vacant government plots in ward 14 and 23. The residents are petitioning urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya, local MLA Subhas Chakraborty, the environment minister and Bidhannagar Municipality chairman Dilip Gupta.
Gupta says he can take up the issue with the government only after the residents submit a memorandum. He, too, feels that “several gas godowns coming up side by side will pose a threat and cause environmental pollution. It must be looked into whether the godown was in the township’s original masterplan,” he added.
Officials say no masterplan for Salt Lake exists. “There are only working plans and that, too, for the township’s sectors and roads,” a senior official said.
The officials claim that the original site of the proposed godown, near the sluice gate, was more congested and posed a greater risk to Salt Lake. “The godown owners did not want to go to AG Block but urban development officials persuaded them to shift,” they added.