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‘BJP lost the game… we will easily win over 130 wards’

🔴 Atin Ghosh speaks about the TMC’s chances and being considered a frontrunner for the Mayoral post.

Written by Sweety Kumari | Kolkata |
December 16, 2021 6:39:29 am
Atin Ghosh, Atin Ghosh news, TMC Atin Ghosh, Kolkata Municipal Corporation KMC, KMC polls, BJP, BJP TMC, West Bengal, Kolkata, West Bengal news, Kolkata news, India news, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express NewsAtin Ghosh, TMC MLA from Kashipur-Belgachhia constituency (Sourced by Express)

TMC leader Atin Ghosh, who has been a councilor from North Kolkata for nearly three decades and has also been Deputy Mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), is contesting the civic election from ward number 11 of KMC. He speaks to Sweety Kumari about the TMC’s chances and being considered a frontrunner for the Mayoral post.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation, the past few months have been very challenging for KMC. How do you see it?

We had already built an infrastructure. In the past two years, most of the work was health-related due to the pandemic. In the past ten years, we have worked on infrastructural development. All 144 wards have a health centre. This helped us in tackling the pandemic. It was easier to coordinate through these health centres. We were easily able to reach out to people for testing, vaccination etc. We built several safe homes and quarantine centres. We had the advantage that each person could get vaccine from health centre of their specific ward. With strong infrastructure in Kolkata, we were able to handle the pandemic better.

In the midst of a global pandemic, the controversy over the fake Covid-19 vaccination brought KMC in limelight for all the wrong reasons. Do you think that civic authorities should have played a more responsible role in terms of conducting vaccination drives in the city?

Someone arranged a vaccination drive with the KMC board and he even asked people to come take the jab. How would I or any KMC officials know? The moment it came to our notice, we immediately took stern action. The case is being dealt with legally. But it is also true that KMC and the police should take minimum accountability. This pandemic situation was almost unprecedented and the fake vaccination case was one instance were a conman tried to take advantage of the situation. But did you hear anything like that post this incident? No. Because we have been cautious.

Cases of vector-borne diseases, be it malaria or dengue, saw a rise in the past few months. Did you see this coming? How prepared was KMC for the outbreak ?

Dengue cases this year saw a decline in comparison to 2019,. And as far as malaria is concerned, we witnessed record rainfall this year. Mostly four boroughs – IV, V,VI and VII – are malaria-prone areas. These areas have factories, a number of wholesale markets, Burra Bazaar, Bow Bazaar… all these crowded markets come under these boroughs and there are a large number of labourers. We continue to collect blood samples from labourers in these areas.  Due to record rain this year we couldn’t control (malaria spread) as much as we could have otherwise.

Let’s talk about the waterlogging problem in the city. Would you blame the intense rainfall alone?

Waterlogging depends on the irrigation canal. Under KMC, we have seven to eight drainage canals…such as Begorkhal, Bagjola, Khal etc. All these canals are encroached by migrant labourers/people since the Left rule. Now, we have started relocating people in these areas. Hopefully when these basic works are done, we will be able to solve the waterlogging issue.

How do you view your party’s stand on “one person, one post”. You are already an MLA and are now fighting for councillor post. How serious you are about this election?

I am not asking for votes. I am treating this as an opportunity to meet homemakers and women voters of my area. With so much of responsibility, I hardly get time to interact with them and visit their homes. In the name of campaign, I am basically strengthening my relationship with the people and the area I belong to. It is my ward for decades, I know people by face. They know me personally. I have continuous involvement for 36 years through my work.

Your party has not decided on a Mayor face. Are you eyeing the chair?

No, I am not greedy for chairs. I want to be remembered for my work. I happily accept any post my party gives me. This is totally for the party to decide. Whenever and whatever the leadership decides, I accept it.

How do you compare development under KMC to civic bodies of other metro cities?

Be it the BMC, Delhi, Chennai or Bengaluru are all planned cities. Kolkata is an unplanned city. KMC covers 220 square km area and as per 2011 Census, around six million people stay here. Six million people come to Kolkata daily for their livelihood. So, Kolkata takes the load of one crore and 20 lakh people everyday. It is unfair to compare it with Delhi, Mumbai.

Which party do you see as opposition for civic polls- Left/Congress or BJP?

You have to sometimes change your ideologies with time. The Left or Congress haven’t been making any attempt to revive their party following their recent performances. They lack practical approach. BJP has lost the game in Bengal badly. People have rejected their policies. After Assembly elections, their workers’ morale has gone down. They have failed to revive that fighting spirit in them.

Out of 144 wards, how many will go in favour of the TMC ?

132-134 wards we will easily win.

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