The state government’s pledge to check illegal landfill notwithstanding, several ponds in Dum Dum have been filled up. Residents of the Motilal Nehru Bazar area, in Dum Dum, say that in spite of several written complaints, no action has been taken.
Shops, buildings, clubs — allegedly backed by a section of the ruling CPM — are being constructed on these illegal plots. “We have received such complaints and are inquiring into the matter,” admitted Ajay Nand, additional superintendent of police (Salt Lake), on Friday.
However, police sources said they had done their bit and sent the landfill reports to the Dum Dum municipal authorities. “Reports have been sent to departments concerned and the municipality. It is up to them now to take action,” said a senior police officer of North 24-Parganas.
“Residents are helpless. They have sent several petitions to various departments, but no action has been taken,” claimed Manju Dutta, Trinamul Congress councillor of Dum Dum municipality. Although protests and agitations have been held in the area for years, often triggering major controversies, residents say at least 30 cottahs of wetlands off Jessore Road were filled up recently.
“Some shop-owners, supporters of the ruling party, had to shift from Jessore Road when it was being widened. So, they chose to fill up the ponds and set up shop there,” said Dutta.
Deepak Bhattacharjee, chairman of Dum Dum municipality, admitted “there may have been some problem when Jessore Road was being widened. Some shop-owners had to be evicted. We have written to the rehabilitation department to demarcate the waterbodies. Till that is done, we can’t identify the encroachers,” Bhattacharjee explained.
CPM sources said pressure has been exerted from the top. “Officials are not happy with the complaints emanating from the area. They have directed the local body to take steps,” a CPM leader said. “Even the police are talking tough,” he pointed out.