The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Civic funds cry reaches minister

Calcutta, Sept. 18: The West Bengal Municipal Association, a body of municipal chairpersons, today sent a delegation to minister Ashok Bhattacharya with a list of requests, particularly to loosen the purse strings.

The municipal affairs minister seemed sympathetic to the call to lift the embargo on supply of funds for development works from the treasury and said he would forward their request to the finance minister.

Bhattacharya announced the formation of a four-member committee, comprising chairpersons of Howrah, Siliguri, Kalyani and Burdwan municipalities, to suggest changes in building rules after the team drew his attention to the growing demand for modification of old buildings in the district towns to suit the needs of families that are either expanding or being divided.

“The building rules need to be relaxed and the committee formed today will look after it. But in no way will the amendments in the buildings rules strengthen the hands of promoters and developers,” he said. The committee will submit its report in two months.

The team also called for internal audits in all municipalities. There are many civic bodies where internal audits had not been carried out for years, it said.

Bhattacharya also asked the delegation to introduce water tax in all municipalities as soon as possible.

Road repairs before Pujas: PWD minister Amar Chowdhury today said patchwork repairs would be carried out on some roads in the city and in the districts controlled by the departments before the Pujas. Funds would not be a problem, he said, as he had received 15 per cent of the department’s budget till this month. “We cannot carry out extensive repairs, but we can manage patchworks,” he added.

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