IQBAL AHMED, Congress councillor of Calcutta Municipal Corporationís ward no. 62, met readers of The Telegraph at Peace Makersí Club, on Alimuddin Street, to reply to their queries. Participants included Mustafa Ahmed, Abdul Kayum, S.S. Khan, Sitaram Sau, Anwar Khan, Abul Hassan, Adnan, Mohammad Ibrahim, Lucky Saha, Manzur Ahmed and Rishad Nawaz
Abdul Kayum: I would like to bring to your notice that residents near the CPM party office have turned the walls and gutter into a public lavatory. One cannot enter Alimuddin Street without retching at the stink.
I will certainly look into this problem and if need be, set up two public urinals on the spot. For the time being, I will ask the residents of the area to stop the nuisance.
Abdul Kayum: The roads in the ward are never cleaned. Every streetcorner has a heap of garbage and it stinks. Arenít there enough sweepers'
I agree that the area should be kept clean. But to do that, I would like all of you to contribute to the cause. Municipality workers start their job of cleaning early in the morning and finish by 9 or 10 am. The problem in our area is that my Muslim brothers start their day very late. They go to the market not before noon. Then, they start cooking, and by the time they finish their meal, it is late in the afternoon. You can well understand what I mean to say. All the waste is thrown on the streets after the municipality workers have left for the day. Naturally, thereís a lot of garbage at every streetcorner.
Abdul Kayum: There is a lot of waterlogging in the area during the monsoons.
Water stands only if there are heavy showers, and not otherwise. That, too, you must have observed, drains out within an hour or two. You must have also seen that there has been no waterlogging on Alimuddin Street or its vicinity during the showers over the past week. However, I do agree that the drains should be cleaned more often and I shall see that it is done.
Mustafa Ahmed: I live on Ripon Street. Over the past year, our water pressure has dropped drastically.
You must be aware that after I came to power, water became available to all sections of the ward. On Ripon Street, the water pressure is not all that bad, as far as I know. Whatever little problem there is, it exists because the 12-inch-diameter pipeline is, perhaps, not wide enough to supply water to both wards 61 and 62. Anyway, I will talk to mayor Subrata Mukherjee and see if something can be worked out.
Mustafa Ahmed: The stretch between Ripon Street and the Sudder Street crossing needs repair. This stretch has been ignored for long. The general opinion is that because you do not get enough votes from the area, you ignore development work there.
Well, if I do not get enough votes from the area, how is it that I have won with a margin of more than 300 votes' Even if I had not won from the area, it is my duty to serve it, as I have been elected by the people of this ward. I do agree that the stretch needs repair and it will be done in due time. Road repairs in the Hindu pockets of the city are carried out mostly before the Pujas and funds are distributed accordingly. I promise that before the festive season of the Muslims, that stretch will be repaired.
S.S. Khan: Like me, you too have been a student of the Calcutta Madarsa. Slums have come up around the school and the area is very dirty. Why donít you do something about it'
I do feel bad about the fact, but I am helpless, as the grounds on which the school stands is not part of my ward. It falls in ward 53. However, I will talk to the councillor of the ward and see if something can be done.
Sitaram Sau: I own a shop in a building on Alimuddin Street which is being turned into a highrise. The shop is my sole source of income. Will you help me from being driven away'
This a personal problem, but something needs to be done about it. Frankly, I have no part to play in this, as it should be sorted out between the landlord and the tenant. It all depends on the terms of the agreement that you had with the owner of the premises. However, as you say that the shop is your only source of income, it is my duty to do something. I will talk to the owner as well as the promoter of the building.