| STATE OF THE UNION: The RSP union office coming up at Bagha Jatin State General Hospital, after demolishing part of the boundary wall and eating into campus space. Picture by Amit Datta
Colour does matter, at least on the hospital campus.
How else would one explain the state administration slapping an eviction notice on three union offices — aligned to the Opposition —on the campus of SSKM Hospital, while turning a blind eye to the one belonging to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (the trade-union arm of the CPM)'
And even if one does pass it off as an ‘oversight’ on the part of the government, try this — the RSP is busy building an office for its trade union on the premises of Bagha Jatin State General Hospital. The Left Front constituent has even demolished a part of the hospital’s boundary wall for the purpose, and there’s not a murmur from the government.
But at the construction site, some residents of the south Calcutta locality and Trinamul Congress supporters have been raising quite a din.
“They have encroached well into the hospital — and taken up some of the pavement outside — disregarding protests from hospital workers and residents of the neighbourhood,” alleged Trinamul councillor of ward no. 99 Nirmal Das.
The building department of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) and Trinamul MLA from Dhakuria Saugata Roy have been alerted, Das added.
A section of the local RSP leadership admitted that work to “enlarge” the local party office had been going on “near the hospital”.
“If there has been any encroachment, it is very unfortunate,” a senior RSP leader said. “We are looking into the matter.”
That was “off the record”. Officially, however, the party leadership has decided to brazen it out. “There is no question of any encroachment,” said local RSP leader and former mayoral council member in the CMC Bamacharan Chakraborty. “The local office has been there for quite some time,” he added.
But with the construction snowballing into a controversy, the district health administration has asked the public works department (which, incidentally, has an RSP minister at the helm) to conduct a probe.
“We have asked the department to carry out a thorough inquiry,” said Pradip Mandal, South 24-Parganas chief medical officer of health.
Back at SSKM, the state health department has asked trade unions affiliated to the Trinamul Congress and the Congress to vacate their offices on campus. A similar directive has been issued to another non-CPM union.
The deadline: December 10. After that, the hospital authorities will seek help from the Bhowanipore police to vacate the trade union offices. No further notice would be served, an official stressed.
The move, however, leaves the CITU office untouched, provoking blames of bias from the two ‘target’ unions controlled by Madan Mitra of Trinamul Congress and Somen Mitra of Congress. SSKM officials, however, said the CITU office would not be left untouched. “It will be targeted after the current drive,” an official said.