Alleging non-cooperation from the state government, Mayor of Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC), Ashok Bhattacharya said Wednesday that he was denied permission to hold a seminar at a booked venue in Siliguri scheduled on August 16 .
“We had verbally inquired about the availability of the Dinbandhu Hall on August 16 and had done a pencil booking. When we went to deposit the money, we were told it was not their policy to let it out for political events. I told the person concerned that I intended to book it for a seminar, but he said it was already booked by department of North Bengal Development. So we were forced to book the banquet hall of a hotel with a seating arrangement for about 300,” Bhattacharya said.
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He told mediapersons that the seminar, titled ‘Local democracy, local self government, importance of the 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendment Act’, would be attended by leaders from various political parties, including Union minister Jairam Ramesh.
“While Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has consented to give the keynote address, I have requested state urban development minister Firhad Hakim to be the Chief Guest at the event. I have also sent a letter to state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee to attend the event,” Bhattacharya said, adding that BJP MP SS Ahulwalia and members of GTA are also expected to turn up.
He said mayor and chairman of all state municipalities and presidents and leaders of Zila Parishads have been invited as the seminar would highlight the encroachment on the rights of municipalities.
While Hakim was not available to comment, Mukherjee said, “I have not got any invitation yet. I will decide whether I will go or not once I get it .”