Tannery trouble spilt over to the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass on Monday, causing rush-hour traffic chaos and creasing brows at Writers’ Buildings.
Residents of Tangra-Topsia set up roadblocks, under the banners of the trade union fronts of CPI and CPI(M-L), to protest the government decision to disconnect powerlines in a bid to shut down the tanneries. This forced the police to keep the Science City-Park Circus stretch off limits for traffic from 9 am to 2 pm (Picture on Page 23).
Industry minister Nirupam Sen later said at Writers’ Buildings that the government was merely following the Supreme Court order. “We will not allow tanneries to operate within city limits. The new site at the Calcutta Leather Complex in Bantala is ready, with all the necessary infrastructure,” he stressed.
To pull the plug on the tanneries in Tangra-Topsia, the government had ordered snapping of their water and power connections last weekend. The CESC snapped the lines in a two-day drive from Saturday. “This is a clear signal to the tanneries that they must shift,” said Sen.
Monday also found Nandagopal Bhattacharya, minister for water investigation, and CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta visiting the Bantala complex. “There is no infrastructure here for the thousands of tannery workers to shift,” Bhattacharya announced.