Two BJP legislators in Malda faced the ire of residents of Maldanga village in Malda district on Sunday when they went there to console the bereaved family of Mamani Roy, the 25-year-old homemaker who died on Friday as no ambulance could reach her because of the bad road in her village.
The critically ill Mamani headed toward the hospital, 5km away from her home, on a cot tied with bamboo sticks and ropes, but she died on the way.
Her husband Kartik and other villagers alleged that the pathetic road made it impossible for ambulances, e-rickshaws and other vehicles to reach them.
On Sunday, Malda North BJP MP Khagen Murmu and Habibpur BJP MLA Joel Murmu rushed to Maldanga to console Mamani’s family. Maldanga village under Bamangola block falls under their constituencies.
As soon as they entered the village, residents demanded to know from the MP why the 5km road between Maldanga and Bamangola block hospital, under the Gobindapur-Maheshpur panchayat, was in such dire straits for years now.
“You are our MP. You must answer why the road is so dilapidated that even ambulances refuse to come to our village? We want no more empty promises but a proper road immediately,” said a woman protester.
Before being elected a BJP MP, Khagen Murmu was a CPM MLA of Habibpur for three terms. In 2019, he joined the BJP and was elected as the MP from Malda North. As he resigned from the MLA’s post, Joel Murmu of the BJP won the Assembly bypoll. In 2021, Joel Murmu retained the Habibpur seat.
Khagen Murmu said he allotted Rs 13 lakh from his MPLAD fund to build a bituminous road in the village.
He spoke to the BDO of Bamangola block over the phone from the spot and said that the remaining amount required for the road should be arranged from the state backward classes’ welfare department.
“The road has not been built because of the indifference of the district administration. It was around two years back that some officials in the district had said steps would be taken to build the road. So far, nothing has been done by the administration,” said the MP.
Eventually, the two BJP leaders left, but villagers expressed unhappiness over the sum mentioned by the MP. “Rs 13 lakh is too small a sum for the proper construction of a 5km road. The MP knows it well. Instead of such eyewash, we want the immediate construction of a proper road,” said Suman Das, a villager.
The BDO, sources said, informed the MP that the matter was referred to the district administration.
Sources in the administration said a budget of Rs 2 crore was arranged for the road. “The work will begin soon,” said a source.
Local Trinamul leaders slammed the BJP MP and the MLA.
“These two have been MPs and MLAs for quite some time but have never served the people. They have hardly ever been to such villages and now are trying to do politics over an unfortunate incident. It is but natural that people demonstrated before them,” said Dulal Sarkar, a vice-president of Malda Trinamul.