The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mamata unlocks wrath gate

Mayor Subrata Mukherjee would do well to spend his energy and time setting up more markets and improving civic conditions than on erecting a Calcutta Gateway, feels Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee. She was attending the unveiling of a newly-purchased office space by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) project on AJC Bose Road.

“What the city needs today is more local markets, streetlights, drinking water facilities and garbage-free roads,” declared Mamata, with the mayor by her side. It is the first time she spoke her mind on the Calcutta Gateway, which got scrapped on her intervention.

The Gateway, had it come up, would have been a mere showpiece without any purpose. Mamata said the mayor should take up schemes to set up a market in every ward. If each market could generate space for 1,000 stalls, it would help make about 1.5 lakh jobless youths self-sufficient.

Mamata sounded a little critical about the performance of the Mukherjee-led civic board, when she said it was better to create assets for the CMC and the government with public money.

She also advised vigilance on the proper and effective use of the funds given by international agencies like the ADB and the British Department for International Development (DFID) for various projects.

In another swipe at mayor Mukherjee, Mamata said: “We should not be obsessed with imposing more and more taxes on the common people. That will earn us revenue, but we will lose public sympathy.”

The slum areas, she said, were still the most neglected pockets in the city and the CMC should take extra initiatives to offer better living conditions. “Slum-dwellers are deprived of everything — sanitation, sunlight, water, roads and healthcare,” she pointed out.

Happy to point out the booster stations coming up at Kasba, Bagmari, Ranikuthi and Kalighat, Mamata hoped the water crisis would ease.

The mayor said in his speech: “Four east Calcutta wards in our leader’s Lok Sabha constituency, not originally included in the ADB environment improvement project, have been brought under the scheme. A sum of Rs 120 crore will be spent to improve civic infrastructure there.”

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