Monday, 30th October 2017

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Green restored after two days at Maidan

CMC-BJP blame game over state of Maidan after Modi rally

By TT Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 6.04.19, 4:00 AM
  • Updated 6.04.19, 4:00 AM
  • 2 mins read
The Brigade Parade Grounds after it was cleaned on Friday. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

The Brigade Parade Grounds was restored on Friday, after remaining under thermocol plates and plastic bags and cups since the BJP rally on Wednesday.

The BJP as well as the Calcutta Municipal Corporation claimed credit for the clean-up and accused each other for not doing its bit in cleaning up the city’s lungs over the past two days.

Metro visited the ground twice on Friday, around 10am and 5pm. The ground had been restored by the second visit, barring the lone hangar that stood in the middle of the greens.

A battery of mini-trucks with sacks of garbage and aluminium sheets used to build the hangars stood on the Maidan. Altogether, nine hangars had been set up for the rally.

During the morning visit, this newspaper saw around 50 people — BJP volunteers and labourers — cleaning up the ground. They were stashing the abandoned items into sacks, which were being loaded on mini-trucks.

This newspaper reported on Friday that plastic cups, crumpled pieces of paper, plastic bottles and plates with leftover food were strewn all around on Thursday afternoon, more than 24 hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed the rally.

As for their Friday’s clean-up drive, Prasenjit Bhowmick, a BJP leader and the state convenor of the Swachh Bharat Mission, said: “Our volunteers started removing the litter at 6.30am. The work got over after 4pm.”

A clean-up drive on the Maidan supervised by BJP leaders on Friday morning.
A clean-up drive on the Maidan supervised by BJP leaders on Friday morning. Picture by Gautam Bose

Sanjay Singh, one of the state general secretaries of the party, was supervising the clean-up. “More than 250 volunteers and around 50 labourers did the job,” he told this newspaper in the evening.

“More than 600 sacks of garbage had been collected from the Maidan. More than 15 mini-trucks made a number of rounds to remove the litter.”

A team of BJP volunteers had removed some litter on Thursday but had to suspend the drive to make room for workers dismantling the hangars.

The CMC, on its part, claimed credit for the clean-up and blamed the BJP for doing too little too late.

“We had sent a notice to the Bengal BJP for not starting the clean-up after the rally ended on Wednesday. They did not even bother to appeal to us to restore the ground,” said Debabrata Majumder, mayoral council member in charge of solid waste management.

The civic body, he said, sent multiple teams to the Maidan to remove the garbage. “I supervised the operation on one stretch. We deployed 50 men, 10 battery-powered vehicles and a movable compactor on that stretch,” said Shailendra Singh, a solid waste management overseer at the CMC.

An official said 250 men, split into five groups, were involved in the clean-up at the entire rally site. Twenty battery-power vehicles and two movable compactors were involved.

Singh said only the stretch under the hangars and a few other parts of the rally site had been cleaned by the time the civic teams arrived. “Long stretches along the Elliot Park-end of the ground were still covered with litter. Garbage sacks were lying at several corners. We took them to the nearest compactor stations in Bhowanipore and Kidderpore,” said Singh.

Sanjay Singh of the BJP, who said he had been overseeing the clean-up by his party volunteers since 7am, claimed: “I did not see any team from the CMC.”

The CMC’s delayed response was in contrast to what it does after Trinamul’s July 21 rally. A battery of men and machines descend on the Brigade Parade Grounds to remove the garbage immediately after the rally ends.

Mayor Firhad Hakim had said on Thursday the BJP had not sought the CMC’s help in cleaning the ground.