Friday, 14 October 2016

Tired of Non-cooperation Siliguri Mayor Writes to Bengal CM - Seeks Appointment

Mayor Asok Bhattacharya yesterday said he had written to chief minister Mamata Banerjee seeking an appointment to apprise her of the funds constraints faced by the Siliguri Municipal Corporation.

At a news conference held at the has mentioned about his letter to CM and also elaborated on some .

"I have written to the chief minister and sought an appointment. I intend to apprise her of our dues from the state and seek her intervention so that funds from various departments are released to us at the earliest. Almost 15 months have passed since we formed the board at the SMC and we have not yet received any financial assistance from the state," Bhattacharya said here this afternoon.

He added: "Although I have tried to contact the state ministers of different departments, I have got only assurances from them, not funds. But I will keep trying to convince the state to release funds and this time, I have decided to meet none other than the chief minister."

He said the letter had been sent on October 6. "The state has been non-responsive and leaders and workers of the ruling party are trying to pose problems for us by obstructing us or demonstrating in our offices. I sent a letter to the chief minister on October 6 and I am waiting for a reply."

Before the Pujas, the mayor had published a two-page leaflet, copies of which had been distributed among Siliguri residents, to inform them that the SMC was entitled to receive around Rs Rs 172 crore from the state.

A political observer said: "His (Bhattacharya's) decision to try and meet the chief minister is significant. If he gets an appointment and still, no funds are released by the state, the mayor would get a chance to drive home the point that even after meeting Mamata Banerjee and seeking her intervention, the state was not releasing funds."

Since May last year, after taking over as the mayor, Bhattacharya has been alleging biasness of the state government. In the past 15 months, he and the members mayor-in-council have met ministers Gautam Deb, Firhad Hakim and Amit Mitra regarding funds.

The mayor also met senior officials of the PHE, urban development, municipal affairs and other departments asking them to release funds to the SMC.

Earlier this month, a delegation of councillors led by Bhattacharya had met governor K.N. Tripathi in Calcutta and apprised him of non-sanctioning of funds by the state.

"Despite such non-cooperation, our board has in the past one year made payments worth Rs 100 crore. We have provided allowances and food grains to around 13,000 poor people. There are around 2,000 temporary workers in the SMC and we are paying them regularly," the mayor said.

He added the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority and the north Bengal development department had not paid the civic body. "The SMC is supposed to get Rs 8.50 crore from the SJDA this fiscal. In the past financial year, we were supposed to receive Rs 4.40 crore from NBDD for different projects," he added.

Yesterday, Bhattacharya said some development projects would be taken up by the SMC. "We have taken up a project to improve the drainage system and we will spend Rs 3 crore. Work to extend pipelines to supply drinking water and installation of more street lights have been planned. We have got Rs 5.53 crore under the 14thFinance Commission and around Rs 8 crore from local area development funds of some MPs," he said.

Telegraph