Mayor Gautam Deb, who presented the annual budget of Siliguri Municipal Corporation, the largest civic body of north Bengal here on Wednesday, said their focus would be on infrastructure development and improved civic services.
The Trinamul board in SMC has drawn up an extensive plan to build alternative roads, foot over-bridges and multi-level parking spaces during the financial year 2023- 24 to ease traffic movement in and around the city.
Deb, who tabled a budget estimate of Rs 591.77 crore with a deficit of Rs 10 crore for 2023-24, claimed that it was the highest-ever estimate in the history of the SMC which was formed in 1994.
“During the ensuing financial year, we intend to carry out extensive infrastructural development across Siliguri, in association with the state government. A deficit might have been reflected in the budget but we have our own mechanism to cover this shortage in due course,” the mayor said after placing the budget.
Such a budget estimation — close to Rs 600 crore — is being seen as an attempt by Trinamul to counter its political contenders, especially the BJP on infrastructural issues.
Over the past few months, leaders and elected representatives of the BJP have raised questions about the activities of the Siliguri civic board and its sincerity towards developing the city.
The Centre has made substantial allocations for infrastructure, ranging from roads to railways to the airport, the BJP leaders have said.
While delivering his speech at the conference hall of SMC, Deb spoke of a plan to build a 3km road over the Mahanandariver, which will be parallel to Hill Cart Road, to ease traffic movement. It is likely to cost Rs 2 crore, he said.
“We will make another road from Gurungbusty to Milan More (on the northern outskirts of the city) by spending around Rs 5 crore. A multi-level car parking will also be built on Sevoke Road,” he said.
The mayor elaborated on his plans to shift some buses of long-distance routes from Bhanu Bhakta Chowk area toParibahan Nagar in Matigaraand develop the PC Mittal BusTerminus in Sevoke Road to ease traffic movement in the city. Also, the local bus stand will be shifted from Bagrakotto Tinbatti More in the southern part of Siliguri on the land of the state transport department.
“We will clear encroachments from prominent thoroughfares and a foot overbridge will come up near Tenzing Norgay Central BusTerminus,” said Deb.
The SMC is working on a proposal to build another bridge over the Mahananda, the river that flows through the town, with an estimated cost of Rs 120 crore, said civic body sources.
On the SMC headquarters campus, construction work for a new five-storey structure, has started.
This building will be spread over 25,000 sqft and have a terrace garden, parking space, a 200-seater conference room, a video conference room and separate office rooms for all members and mayors-in-council (MMICs).
“We will also set up a photo gallery and an exhibition with artworks of eminent artists, and vintage items associated with Siliguri’s history. A reading room with a library will be opened in the old building,” said Deb.