statesman news service
DURGAPUR, 28 JUNE: The move to construct a housing complex in a riverbed here has drawn flak, leading to mass protests demanding strong intervention by the local civic body.
Residents of wards 12 and 13 in the town, comprising the Main Gate, Azad Basti, Gammon Colony, Nayeem Nagar, Amrai and Kandeswar areas erupted today when they saw some realtors raising a housing complex encroaching upon the riverbed. They had earlier led a deputation to the Mayor, Durgapur Municipal Corporation on 17 June.
Tamla, a storm water channel that receives effluents from the Blast Furnace, Steel Melting Shop of SAIL&’s Durgapur Steel Plant and Coke Oven plant and Coal Washery of the state-owned Durgapur Projects Limited, meets the Damodar river downstream of the Durgapur Barrage. Recently residents saw  some realtors laying foundation and brickworks allegedly occupying the channel area. The construction work was started near a bridge on the channel adjacent to Amrai village.
Mr Gopal Prasad Singh, a resident, said: “Already the channel&’s water carriage area is being encroached upon downstream which causes severe inconvenience, especially during the monsoons, inundating vast areas in our  localities.” It is learnt that on 5 July 2007, three locals drowned when the Tamla channel was in spate.    
“It is the only dependable waste water channel in the town and any blockage  won’t be allowed under any circumstances,” said Mr Apurba Mukherjee, Mayor, DMC today. “We came to know that permanent construction by filling up the channel area is in progress in the Main Gate and Amrai areas,” he added.
The SDM, Durgapur, Mrs Kasturi Sengupta, has already instructed the Land & Land Revenue department to hold an inquiry whether realtors have encroached upon government land.