Chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee during her official administrative meeting in Purulia yesterday directed the district administration to focus on homestays, cottages and eco-tourism projects to boost the tourism in the district.
At a time when both chief minister Mamata Banerjee and mayor Firhad Hakim have warned builders attempting to fill-up water bodies of stringent action, a massive water body in east Kolkata is being filled up. The complaint was lodged with the chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who instructed the mayor to look into the matter. The Municipal Commissioner, in turn, instructed the director general (building) Debashis Chakraborty.
But in utter disregard for the CM’s instruction, the KMC went ahead and gave permission to set up structures on the reclaimed land. When local people went to meet the deputy commissioner of police (Eastern Suburban Division), he pleaded innocent, saying that he was helpless as the KMC had sanctioned plans to set up buildings.
This is a classic example of how the best intention of the chief minister to preserve the environment is being flouted by some officials. The water body in question is situated at 30/ 32 B, Motilal Basak Lane (Ward 31 of KMC) behind Sura Jute Mill, situated near the crossing of Phoolbagan and Narkeldanga Main Road. The jute mill was closed many years ago.
The area of the water body is 2.5 bigha. The builders took the plea of upgrading the water body and started filling it up with soil. When local people resisted they were silenced. Local people alleged that some policemen came to the area and asked them not to raise their voice. The builders went ahead with the project and, having connections with some officials of the building department, got the plan sanctioned. Civic laws stipulate that if structures are set up on reclaimed land, they should be pulled down immediately and the water body should be restored to its original status.
However, no such step has been taken yet. Land speculators said flats are being sold at anything between Rs 2,200 and Rs 2,500 per square feet. Space in the area is in high demand after massive development in infrastructure took place after Trinamul Congress government came to power in 2011. The entire area is flooded with lights and there is uninterrupted water supply. Waterlogging is a thing of the past and all these factors have helped to increase the price of space, they said.
Locals still believe that the CM will intervene and the water body will be restored to its original status.