A huge water body in Malanchapally in Ward No 3 under the English Bazaar police station is allegedly being converted into a residential area. The water body has shrunk in size over the years, while small houses and large buildings have sprung up there. The local people have alleged involvement of Malda’s land mafia in the matter, while the administration has also remained mum on it, even though chief minister Mamata Banerjee, in her last administrative meeting in Malda in November last year, had asked officials to take quick action in such cases.

“The water body is a natural storehouse of excess rainwater in English Bazaar, and filling it up with soil may cause waterlogging in several wards of the English Bazaar Municipality (EBM). Resentment is palpable among people concerned here,” local sources said. On the other hand, ADM (LR), Palden Sherpa, said that the district administration is already active against such illegal filling up of water bodies and has fined many vehicles carrying soil for the purpose.

It may be noted here that the water body is at the west end of the ward under the EBM and rainwater that flows through the Municipality area goes to that huge water body. A large portion of it has, however, already been filled up with soil and constructions have come up there. It is also alleged that some local youths, with a view to making some quick money, are also involved in the matter.

The secretary of the Malda Paribesh Banchao Samity (save environment), Partha Saha, said, “This cannot be tolerated and why the administration is also inactive in the matter cannot be understood. Our organisation has already called for a movement to stop this, else many wards will be waterlogged in the rainy season.” Chairman of the EBM, Nihar Ranjan Ghosh, said the municipality is looking into the matter and will meet district administration officials soon on the issue.