Bengal tourism minister Gautam Deb on Wednesday inaugurated a number of infrastructure projects in different locations of Siliguri, a move that is being seen as a strategy of the Trinamul Congress to play the development card in the coming civic polls.
The state municipal affairs and urban development department had allotted Rs 3.82 crore for the projects which were executed by the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA).
The projects included construction of boundary walls with ornamental grills at schools, improvement and strengthening of roads, construction of footpath and drains. The projects have been carried out in wards 23, 30, 37 and 38 of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, all of which were won by Trinamul in 2015.
“We carry out development works throughout the year. Around 30 more projects will be inaugurated soon. Infrastructure development is a continuous process and we do not mingle politics with it,” said Deb, when asked whether the projects were taken up in view of the coming civic elections.
The SMC is run by the Left Front and mayor is Asok Bhattacharya.
A political observer said: “Trinamul wants to prove the Left board here has not taken up any development project. Instead, it is the state government and its agencies like the SJDA which have taken the task of developing infrastructure in the city. Such strategy of playing the development card often works in local elections. The pressure on Trinamul is more in Siliguri because on one hand, it has to face the Left-Congress alliance while on the other hand, the BJP has a considerable support base,” said an observer.