Justice Samapti Chatterjee of Calcutta High Court rapped the state government on the knuckles over felling of trees on VIP Road and filling up of water bodies while hearing a petition challenging a no-confidence motion against Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation (BMC) mayor, Sabyasachi Dutta today. While the matter will again be heard tomorrow, the court directed the BMC chairperson, Krishna Chakraborty be made a party to the proceedings and a notice be sent to her.
“Everything is going on under the nose of the government like tree felling on VIP Road,” Justice Chatterjee observed when Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya, appearing for the BMC mayor, submitted that some of the councillors of the civic body have ganged up against Dutta as he tried to stop their bid to regularise illegal constructions especially in the Rajarhat-Gopalpur area. Besides writing to state urban development minister, Fihrad Hakim that these illegal constructions may cause serious environmental imbalance, the mayor had also written to chief minister, Mamata Banerjee about filling up of wetlands, it was submitted. “What steps have been taken?” the court asked. “Am I to believe that government does not know?” it was further asked.
“Trees are being felled on both sides of VIP Road,” the court pointed out. “Felling is done every night,” it was further pointed out. “These trees provide shade,” the court stated. “Then in whose interest it is done?” it was asked.
“What about the water bodies being filled up?” the court asked. “This is most unfortunate,” it was observed. “There is scarcity of water. And water bodies are being filled up,” the court observed. The mayor is bound to leave his office if the no-confidence motion is moved according to law and not because a minister wants him to go and makes designs to ensure his removal, Bhattacharya submitted earlier. Dutta received a notice addressed to him as councillor of ward 31 and not the BMC mayor to attend a meeting of councillors whose agenda was removal of the mayor, it was submitted.
It was signed by joint municipal commissioner of BMC, Surojit Bose as the municipal commissioner was on leave, it was submitted. Later, it was stated that he had signed at the instruction of BMC’’s chairperson.
It is the right of the elected councillors to elect and remove a mayor, advocate general Kisor Datta submitted. A process of removal has been initiated against the mayor, it was submitted.
The commissioner is the executive head of the municipal corporation, additional advocate general, Avratosh Majumdar submitted. Last year, when the commissioner was absent, the joint municipal commissioner discharged the duties, it was submitted. The petitioner is first a councillor and then a mayor, it was submitted. So, he received a notice to attend the meeting as a councillor, it was submitted.