The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Autos over people for Citu

Calcutta, Nov. 2: Salt Lake, the showpiece township, appears to have turned into a battleground for the administration and the various arms of the CPM.

The Citu brass in the township decided to re-establish an illegal auto terminus days after police asked the auto drivers to move away.

Residents had complained several times in the past year against illegal activities around the stand. On October 22, a day after a daring dacoity in BJ Block, residents again gave a deputation to the police demanding a shift of the stand.

It was demolished and the operators protested by taking off their vehicles from most of the routes. The Citu leaders took it upon themselves to teach the police a lesson. The autos were back where they were yesterday afternoon. “Police cannot say which auto-rickshaw stand is illegal. It is the municipality’s decision,” said Amitabha Nandi, a leader of the CPM’s North 24-Parganas unit with close links with Citu.

“Without taking the permission of the municipality, the police broke the stand at the insistence of the local Trinamul Congress councillor,” he said. “Passengers insist the auto drivers to take them till tank number eight. If they refuse and are attacked, will the police protect them'”

Sujoy Chanda, the subdivisional police officer of Salt Lake, said: “We will talk with the Bidhannagar municipality.”

Municipality officials said they had not given permission to any auto stand. “We are yet to give permission for stands. For the convenience of residents, we allow autos to ply on some routes,” said an official of the CPM-run municipality.

The residents had alleged that the auto drivers make passes at women and drink liquor in the open after dark. Last year, the civic body had pulled down a Citu board from the stand. Even that was back in days.

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