Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday pulled up secretaries of public health engineering and power departments and directed police to act against people who were opposing the development projects following complaints of MLAs and party leaders of South 24-Parganas over drinking water and low voltage problems.
“It is we who have to face the people’s anger and not you (read bureaucrats). Why+ have the ongoing drinking water projects not been completed? It is no use reiterating that the projects have been started. It is equally important to ensure that the projects are completed. Summer season is ahead so taking some emergency steps such that people do not face drinking water problem. I will inquire about the progress of work after two months,” said Miss Banerjee while addressing the South 24-Parganas administrative review meeting at Pailan.
The chief minister’s caution came in the wake of speaker and Baruipur Paschim MLA Biman Banerjee’s complaint that agitated residents of several places protest in front of politicians against drinking water problem when they visit those areas.
A host of party MLAs, MP and gram panchayat representatives echoed the same problems that people face in summer due to unavailability of drinking water.
The repeated complaints left Miss Banerjee furious and she sought an explanation from Mr Sourav Das, public health engineering secretary. Despite Mr Das’s efforts to explain that all the projects were taken up on time and about the technological nitty gritty, Miss Banerjee was not satisfied.
In fact, complaints of drinking water pipes being damaged to cater to agricultural fields angered Miss Banerjee further and she said that compensation would be sought from such offenders.
“One cannot go scot-free after damaging government property. They will have to give compensation,” she said. She asked the district magistrate to undertake a survey of the requirement of drinking water and dig deep tube wells in all those areas till the ongoing water projects are completed.
She also asked Mr Das to deploy 900 staff under centrally sponsored Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) as they have been left jobless after the Centre withdrew the scheme for this work.
Blaming the erstwhile Left Front government for the present problem, Miss Banerjee said that the government was doing its best. The drinking water facility has reached 66 per cent of the district, she added.
Deliberating on the low voltage problem due to the delay in completion of Sonakhali grid substation project, Miss Banerjee issued a stern warning to the people who were obstructing the work and asked power secretary to complete the project within seven days.
“Just because a few people are instigating others and stalling work, the entire region cannot be pushed into darkness. We cannot allow such a thing to continue,”she said.
“Everyone should not suffer for a few bad people. Police should take stern action against all those who are stalling work. Politicians too should act politically and be sensitive. They should not only save their own house but all the houses,” she said.
Miss Banerjee further expressed her dissatisfaction at the alleged harassment by officials of Block Land Records Office and asked land and land reforms secretary to ensure that common people are not harassed unnecessarily.
Speaking on the occasion, Miss Banerjee stressed on inc r easing fish and egg production and conducting a survey to assess the prospects of food processing as well as setting up three food processing units in the district.
She applauded the state for baggi – ng the first rank in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Empl – oyment Guarantee Act scheme.
The unemployability in the state has decreased by 40 per cent as the individual income has increased, she said.
She asked district officials to ensure that work does not suffer due to the upcoming panchayat election