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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 26 June 2024

Under-construction building collapse in Garden Reach: BJP seeks to corner mayor for incident

After visiting the site of the disaster, which has claimed eight lives till Monday evening, Mamata took to X handle to pledge financial aid for the victims of the Garden Reach tragedy

Saibal Gupta, Snehamoy Chakraborty Calcutta Published 19.03.24, 11:25 AM
Suvendu Adhikari, Firhad Hakim (right)

Suvendu Adhikari, Firhad Hakim (right) File pictures

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s announcement to offer compensation for victims of Garden Reach house collapse incident has triggered a political row in the poll season with leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari accusing “political figures” of violating the model code of conduct.

After visiting the site of the disaster, which has claimed eight lives till Monday evening, Mamata took to X handle to pledge financial aid for the victims of the Garden Reach tragedy.

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“We shall provide compensation for the next of kin of the deceased and for the injured persons,” Mamata wrote on her social media platform at 8.13 am.

Although the CM did not specify the compensation amount, a little later mayor and urban development minister Firhad Hakim disclosed the quantum of financial aid while talking to reporters.

“I spoke to the chief minister and we will provide Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased and Rs one lakh to each injured person,” Hakim said.

Adhikari took to X at 10.26am and termed it as “TMC-made Disaster”.

In a long post on his X handle, the Nandigram MLA raised a series of questions and held Trinamul leaders, particularly Hakim and local councillor Shams Iqbal, responsible for the five-storey building collapsing “like a Pack Of Cards”.

While terming Iqbal as “the undisputed King of Illegal Constructions”, he demanded the arrests of the councillor and the promoter.

The BJP leader felt the compensation was “grossly inadequate” and demanded “that the next of kin of the deceased should be paid at least Rs. 50 lakhs and the injured should be paid at least Rs. 10 lakhs”.

He, however, fired a salvo at Mamata and Hakim for announcing the compensation during the operation of the model code of conduct. Urging the Election Commission to take note of the violation, Adhikari tweeted: “Lastly, the ECI should take note how TMC Leaders, be it Mayor or the CM, all are political figures right now as the Model Code of Conduct is in effect after the announcement of General Elections, are publicly announcing monetary compensation. Any declaration
of compensation amount should be made by the Officials only and not by Political persons.”

Later in the day, BJP leader Sisir Bajoria lodged a complaint with the chief electoral officer’s office, which remained non-committal on the issue. When asked about it, a senior official of the CEO’s office said: “We will investigate and send our findings to Delhi. The ECI will take the final decision regarding this.”

Responding to the demand for Iqbal’s arrest, Hakim gave a clean chit to the councillor and said: “It is not possible for a councillor to know everything”. He blamed the Left Front regime for the illegal construction and said they were trying to regularise those.

Countering Hakim, CPM MP and former mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said: “Even if we accept that these (buildings) started during Left Front rule, what this government was doing for the last 12 years? So far, I have learnt the building that collapsed was just one year old...”

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