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regular-article-logo Monday, 15 July 2024

North Bengal civic bodies under line of fire from chief minister Mamata Banerjee

The Bengal CM reprimanded Gautam Deb, mayor of Siliguri Municipal Corporation for poor performance of the civic body

Avijit Sinha Siliguri Published 25.06.24, 05:48 AM
Gautam Deb

Gautam Deb File image

Gautam Deb, the mayor of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC), came in the line of fire of chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday.

On one hand, the chief minister reprimanded him for poor performance of the civic body. On the other hand, she asked Deb to be proactive in stopping the highhandedness of land mafias who are grabbing government land and making illegal constructions.

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“We are well aware of what is happening in the Sevoke Road, Kawakhali and Dabgram-Fulbari areas. Mafias are grabbing and selling government land. We have initiated a probe and will not spare these people. Gautam (Deb), you are here and you can’t evade your responsibility,” said Mamata, while speaking at the meeting in Nabanna.

She also asked the mayor to not only demolish illegal constructions but also restore the original condition of such land.

“Be tough. Don’t allow such highhandedness. We have information that a section of policemen and some people in the land (and land reforms) department is also linked to these land mafias,” Mamata told Deb.

In Siliguri and surroundings, highhandedness of land mafias is a major issue which has not been addressed in a major way so far. Several complaints have been registered with the police and the administration regaring the operations of land sharks.

“These land mafias have voted the BJP. It is because of their support that the BJP has won,” said Mamata.

Mamata also said four civic bodies in north Bengal performed “worst.”

The SMC, she said, is one of the worst-performing civic bodies in the state in providing drinking water, along with Alipurduar municipality.

The SMC, Mamata pointed out, has also performed miserably in the field of housing (including its failure to control illegal construction), along with Raiganj municipality.

The Dalkhola civic body, on the other hand, has been included in the list of worst-performers in the parameter of cleanliness.

In the course of the meeting, Mamata also sneered at Rabindranath Ghosh, the civic chairman of Cooch Behar, for the decision to increase mutation charges and some other taxes.

“Who are you to increase the taxes? Such an increase cannot be done without the state’s approval,” said Mamata, while addressing Ghosh.

The chief minister was equally critical over the functioning of certain development authorities and said the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA), has been dissolved.

“Hundreds of people have been engaged at these authorities….they simply sit idle. This will not be tolerated. We have dissolved SJDA and handed over the responsibility to the DM (of Darjeeling),” she said.

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