Supravat Mondal. Picture by Arup Sarkar
Durgapur, Oct. 10: Trinamul workers, allegedly instigated by a Durgapur ward councillor of the party, today protested outside the home of the municipality chairman, who is also from Trinamul, accusing him of apathy towards his ward.
The party supporters, joined by residents, said ward 43 councillor Supravat Mondal spent more time in court, where he is an assistant public prosecutor, and hardly looked into work in his area.
“Drains have not been cleaned for days. Garbage lies piled up everywhere. When will he have the time for all this? He is always in court,” said Somesh Sarkar, a resident.
The 100-odd agitators said the councillor was not always accessible.
“We have not seen his face since the municipal polls in June. He stays in ward 42 (which is a neighbouring one). If we need a certificate from him, we have to go all the way to his home. Why doesn’t he have an office in the ward where he is the councillor?” Sarkar asked.
There is no rule that says a councillor should reside in his ward, but according to civic officials, a councillor is usually chosen from the ward where he stays.
Another resident Swadip De Khan alleged the piled-up garbage and stagnant water in the drains gave rise to mosquitoes in the area.
“The stink is unbearable. Who will be responsible if somebody is inflicted with malaria or dengue? Most of us are Trinamul supporters and had voted the party to power in the last civic polls. But the chairman’s negligent attitude is a disappointment.” Khan said.
Mondal, who termed the allegations baseless, came out of his house and tried to negotiate. But the agitators continued their slogans.
“Drains have not been cleaned and garbage is piling up. We are also not getting enough water. Why don’t you visit your ward? You are busy only with your profession in court,” one of the agitators shouted.
The protesters, sources said, were instigated by Biswanath Padial, a Trinamul councillor since 1997, who was not given any post in the civic board.
While the 100-odd Trinamul supporters were shouting, around 50 alleged loyalists of Mondal rushed to the spot, and terming the agitators “CPM-backed traitors”, they got into an argument that soon snowballed into a clash. The protesters were chased away.
Mondal sniffed a conspiracy against him.
“It was a conspiracy against me and I have reported the matter to the mayor. The allegations are baseless. I regularly meet people from my ward at my home, both in the morning and evening. I go there often,” he said.
“Padial instigated his followers and a section of the residents in ward 43 against our chairman. Padial was not given any civic post and that could have angered him. He is now trying to malign us,” a senior party leader said in Durgapur.
Padial refused comment.
Mayor Apurba Mukherjee blamed the CPM. “Residents may have their grievances but the CPM is fuelling such protests. Mondal visits his ward regularly,” he said.