Want to prove a point by raising a stink' Just grab some garbage and dump it at the enemy door.
But the latest symbol of putrid protest, popularised this week by the Trinamul Congress-run Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC), was swiftly snuffed out on Wednesday.
Seventy-two hours after training the garbage gun on Pantaloons, the retail major at Gariahat occupying space in a building under property-tax dispute, mayor Subrata Mukherjee was forced to step into the line of fire.
The mayor announced a “ban”, late on Wednesday, on the use of garbage to settle scores, after mayoral council member Mala Roy took the rotten route to protest police inaction at Tollygunge.
Mukherjee had played the garbage game smoothly on Sunday, placing two overflowing vats in front of the Pantaloons store, following a showdown over waterlines the previous evening.
But Roy, in giving the Tollygunge police station the same treatment on Wednesday, merely landed herself in prison for a few hours, and her party and the CMC in more than a spot of bother.
At around 10.30 am, the member in charge of drainage in the mayor’s council lay siege on the Tollygunge police station. The cause of her ire: a tea-seller she had used the police to evict on Monday was back the next day, near Sahanagar, courtesy a “request” from party colleague and MLA Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay. Jayanta Das, the tea-seller, had recently switched loyalties from the Roy to the Chattopadhyay camp, Trinamul insiders said.
Roy turned up at the police station, with Trinamul borough IX chairman Ruby Datta by her side, and two trucks filled with garbage in tow. Things hotted up with the arrival of mayor-in-council, conservancy, Rajib Deb.
He first requested Roy to take the trucks away. Roy refused and, instead, ordered her band of followers to dump the garbage at the thana door. This prompted the police to launch a lathicharge. Roy was first herded into the police station, before being taken to the Lalbazar central lock-up. She was later produced at the Alipore sub-divisional judicial magistrate’s court and granted bail.
The police, meanwhile, got in touch with the mayor, who sent two CMC vehicles to remove the garbage. Mukherjee ended the day by putting his stamp on an order banning the use of garbage by any CMC agency or personnel for settling a score. “I wish such petty matters (the feud between Roy and Chattopadhyay) could be sorted out in a more cordial manner.”