New year gift for business hub

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By KOUSIK SEN in Raiganj
  • Published 27.12.02

Raiganj, Dec. 27: The government has decided to turn Dalkhola town into a municipality from the new year.

Though the final notification is expected to reach the North Dinajpur district administration on January 1, 2003, the measures needed to make the changeover are being put into place.

Dalkhola, earlier a part of Bihar, was included in West Bengal on 1959. The township grew around the Dalkhola 1 & 2 village panchayats. The National Highway 34 cuts through the middle of the town to meet NH 31. On one side of town is Bihar and on the other West Bengal.

The town became an important centre for trade and commerce because it was well connected by rail and had a railway station to boast of. It is now is the leading centre for jute and oil trade in North Dinajpur.

But in spite of its status as a business hub, Dalkhola had no civic amenity to speak of. As it was under the panchayats, the town has no drainage system; and less said about the roads and street-lighting the better. “We have been asking the administration repeatedly to do something about the basic civic amenities but nothing has been done,” said Pratim Sen, a resident.

Sen, and many more like him, had been pressing the administration to grant municipality status to the town. “We are grateful that the government has finally heeded our request and turned the town into a municipality,” he added.

Sources in the district administration said the first notification on granting civic status to the town was issued by the government on July 18, 2001. “A meeting with the administration was held at which it was decided that Alipur, Nishipur, Lahasara and Daulatpur mouzas of Dalkhola-1 panchayat and Sarsar, West Matiari, Bhusagani, Silanga, Dalkhola, Mithapur, Haripur and Mahamedpur mouzas in Dalkhola-2 panchayat would be brought under the municipal area.

The municipality would be spread across 3942.24 acres.

The municipal area has a population of nearly 28,000 and a voters’ list of 13,428.

On December 23, 2002, the government issued a draft notification granting Dalkhola municipal status.

“The final notification declaring Dalkhola a municipality would be issued on January 1, 2003. Initially, the municipality would function out of the first floor of the Dalkhola public hall,” said North Dinajpur district magistrate Ariz Aftab.

The board of administrators, comprising the Islampur subdivisional officer and the Karandighi block development officer, will oversee the functioning of the municipality.

The district administration will also submit to the government a detailed plan for a new building to house the municipality. The municipality will initially have between nine and 15 wards. Work on delimitation will start in January.