Siliguri councillors encroach on river: DM

The district magistrate of Darjeeling said on Tuesday that a section of councillors of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) and their cohorts were involved in encroaching on the banks of the Mahananda river and illegally selling those plots.

By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 12.09.18
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Encroachments on the bank of the Mahananda in Siliguri. File picture 

Siliguri: The district magistrate of Darjeeling said on Tuesday that a section of councillors of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) and their cohorts were involved in encroaching on the banks of the Mahananda river and illegally selling those plots.

The administration will send a report to the National Green Tribunal in this regard, DM Joyoshi Das Gupta said.

Although the district magistrate did not mention any specific name, her allegation is significant as wards which fall on the banks of the Mahananda belong to councillors of the Left Front which is in power at the SMC.

Based on a PIL filed by environmentalist Subhas Datta, the NGT had issued instructions to the district administration of Darjeeling and agencies like the SMC and SJDA (Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority) to clear encroachments on both banks of the Mahananda that flows through Siliguri.

"We have information that some councillors of the SMC are encroaching on the Mahananda banks and selling the land illegally. The practice is also prevalent on the banks of the Balasan (another river which skirts the city). We are collecting their names and other details and will send a report to the NGT so that appropriate steps can be taken against such illegal practices and the people concerned," Das Gupta said on Tuesday.

She was here to attend an administrative meeting convened by Bengal tourism minister Gautam Deb.

"Being a public functionary, one should know that river bank cannot be sold to anybody. But when an elected representative does not object to such deals, the intention seems to be clear," added Das Gupta.

The DM's remarks have prompted Siliguri mayor and MLA Asok Bhattacharya to react. "I don't want to comment on her (DM) allegations. All I would like to say is that she should not act like a political person," said the mayor.