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Friday, December 13, 2019

Mamata Banerjee pulls up ministers after surprise visit to Howrah slum

The chief minister also asked her Cabinet ministers, MLAs, municipality councillors and panchayat members to visit slum areas to listen to people’s grievances.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: August 20, 2019 5:00:03 am
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at a slum in Howrah before an administrative meeting on Monday. (Express photo)

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday pulled up her ministers after paying a surprise visit to a slum at Ward 29 under Howrah Municipal Corporation and interacting with the residents who aired their grievances to her.

At an administrative meet at Sarat Sadan in Howrah, Banerjee asked state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim and state minister and TMC’s Howrah district president Arup Roy why there were so many complaints from the people living in the slums.

“You (Hakim) had been told to do a planning to implement schemes in phases in slum areas. Waterlogging is a permanent problem in Howrah. Why proper drainage has not been put in place? Before coming to this meeting, I visited a slum. There are 400 families living there and there are only two bathrooms for them? The state government sanctions funds for slum development. Why should I hear complaints from people there,” Baneejee asked Hakim.

The chief minister also asked her Cabinet ministers, MLAs, municipality councillors and panchayat members to visit slum areas to listen to people’s grievances.

“Why don’t you visit such places? You will gather a lot of knowledge if you visit the houses and interact with the people. I will tell Bobby (Hakim) to look after that (Ward 29) slum. I will also tell Arup to look into this,” she added.

Banerjee also tweeted, “Today,… I made a surprise visit to the slum areas of 2 No. Round Tank Lane in Howrah where Hindi-speaking people are staying. I interacted with them and came to know about their problems relating to sanitation, availability of drinking water, distribution of ration cards, improper drainage system and other issues.”

“I took up the issues in the meeting and issued strict directions to the officials of Howrah Municipal Corporation, Food and Supplies Department and all concerned to take immediate action…,” she added.

She further tweeted, “I announced formation of a Task Force with Ministers, local MLAs, public representatives and officials to look into the matters on war footing and solve them in a time-bound matter…”

The CM also slammed colleges for recruiting teachers without taking her government’s approval. “College authorities have been asked not to appoint teachers without informing the state government. Who will take responsibility of these additional recruits if you do it by yourself? The municipalities will have to face court cases if they continue to recruit workers keeping the administration in dark. I will ask Bobby to conduct audit.”

Part-time teachers have been protesting against the government demanding pay hike and job confirmation. Banerjee slammed the para-teachers for staging protests.

“The teachers get their salaries and pensions on time. We will also implement the pay commission recommendations as per our ability. If some teachers think they will hit the streets and not take classes, then this is completely unjust. In 2012, the salary of para-teachers were Rs 4,000 per month. In 2018, it has been increased to Rs 10,000 per month. I respect the teachers, but I do not support their strike,” she said.

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