Minister of state A H Khan Choudhury&’s intervention helps lift blockade
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Malda, 11 November
Aggrieved by the empty promises of political leaders and ministers, locals of Niyamatpur village blocked the Malda-Manikchak state highway for seven hours, demanding immediate construction of a concrete pool over the river Kalindri. Union minister of state (MoS), Mr A H Khan Choudhury(Dalu) had to intervene to withdraw the road-blockade.
The demonstration took such a serious turn that the block development officers of Manikchak and English Bazaar had to rush to allay the grudge of thousands of villagers. But their promises failed to lift the blockade.
The locals claimed that they had long been demanding construction of a concrete pool between Binpara ghat of Fulbaria gram panchayat and Balupur of Narhatta gram panchayat over the river. They claimed that construction of the bridge would benefit the lakhs living in English Bazaar, Manikchak and Ratua.
Nijam Sheikh, Dulu Sheikh, Janardan Pal, Aswini Haldar and several other villagers said that the condition of the pools has been worsening for years. The locals somehow build a temporary pool, but risk their lives trying to cross it. Several appeals have allegedly failed to wake up the administration from their slumber. Hence, they had to block the highway as a last resort, they said.
apparently, families of the area had been warned that if they did not participate in the movement, they would be fined monetarily. The vilagers also threatened that a few lakh would boycott the Lok Sabha polls if a concrete pool was not built before the election.
After the BDOs failed to pursue them from lifting the blockade, Dalu reached the spot and said that the construction would begin in a month. The Union MoS also promised that he would sanction Rs 1 crore from his local area development fund. Another Rs 1 crore would be sanctioned from the Congress-run Malda zilla parishad.
The aggrieved villagers withdrew the movement with the caution that they would revert to a larger movement if the promises were not kept.