The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buddha blasts private water supply plan

Calcutta, Feb. 16: The chief minister today called the Centre’s proposal to invite private participation in civic water supply as “dangerous” and said the Left Front will never be party to the scheme of making business with common man’s drinking water.

Addressing a public meeting at Garfa, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said: “Businessmen run everything against payment, for profit. If a poor man cannot pay, he will not get water to drink.”

Bhattacharjee came down on the Centre for its role in providing funds to develop civic infrastructure in states under the megacity scheme. The Centre had given Rs 20 crore for Calcutta but it was not enough even for a ward, the chief minister said.

He pressed a 3.5-million gallon capacity booster station into operation at Garfa today. The project is a joint venture between the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) and the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC).

“The much-cherished booster station is now a reality and it proves there is no politics in respect of development between the Left Front and the Trinamul Congress,” Bhattacharjee said. A new station would come up at Baishnabghata-Patuli, he added.

Municipal affairs minister Ashok Bhattacharaya, minister for Sunderbans development Kanti Ganguly, mayor Subrata Mukherjee and member mayor-in-council (water-supply) Sovan Chatterjee were present at the programme.

Opening the Rs-24-crore station for the “no-water-tax” area of Jadavpur, the chief minister hinted at the need to impose a levy on water for house-owners in the higher income bracket and business establishments. The municipal affairs minister and the mayor echoed Bhattacharjee.

The station will benefit more than 50,000 families and its maintenance cost has been calculated at Rs 3 crore annually.

Addressing the CMDA and the CMC, the chief minister said: “You should not be obsessed with the facelift of Theatre Road and Park Street.”

Trucks stuck

About 400 trucks are stranded at the Petrapole border near Bongaon since Friday following an altercation between a truck worker and BSF personnel.

Superintendent of police Basudeb Bag said a truck driver was abused by the BSF jawans. “I have asked my officers to get more details,” he added.

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