STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Siliguri, 7 July
The Congress alleged that the extension order issued by the state municipal affairs department over approving bills on regular expenditure pertaining to 16 heads for the next three months would continue financial sufferings in Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC).
The department has extended its order, which was issued on 8 April after the annual civic body budget remained un-passed with turmoil dragging on over the controversial chairman Mr Nantu Pal clinging to his post, defying the Opposition from the Congress and the Left Front.
According to the order, the civic body commissioner will approve bills only on regular expenditure pertaining to 16 heads in the current financial quarter.
The order was valid till 30 June. The municipal affairs department extended that order and the letter was sent to the SMC on 5 July.
“We want the financial embargo to be withdrawn completely and we had appealed to the department to withdraw it since the embargo has crippled the development in the town,” said a Congress member-of-mayor in-council (MMIC).
The PWD MMIC, Mr Sujay Ghatak, said the financial embargo would remain a problem for the corporation.
“However, my department has managed to start the repair work of the roads. The extension is not going to play any role for the development of Siliguri," he said.
According to the corporation sources, the extension of the order will be valid till 30 September, ’till the budget is passed’ or ’till further order’ and apart from the 16 heads five more subjects have been included in the order.
Mr Ghatak blamed the Trinamul Congress for the situation.
“It is a ploy of the Trinamul Congress. If the north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb would have been committed for the development, then he could have called a meeting to discuss the situation. The party does want any development of the town and it works for its own interest," he added.
Denying the allegations, the Trinamul Congress Darjeeling district general secretary Mr Krishna Pal, said the Congress was responsible for the situation.
“The Congress could not pass the budget and blamed us. The order was issued as the budget was not passed,” Mr Pal said. “Since the Congress is running the civic board being minority, it has to take the responsibility to run the corporation," Mr Pal added.