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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

‘Will work as pradhan sevak of Kolkata’: Hakim takes oath

Hakim’s oath was administered by pro-tem chairman Ram Pyare Ram at the KMC building on Tuesday.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
December 29, 2021 5:52:38 am
Firhad Hakim after being sworn in as the mayor of Kolkata for a second straight term on Tuesday. Express Photo by Partha Paul)

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will undertake various technology-driven initiatives to boost civic services and put together an effective delivery mechanism over the next five years, said Firhad Hakim after taking oath as mayor for the second straight term on Tuesday.

“We are committed to fulfilling Mamata Banerjee’s vision for Kolkata. We will ensure that all services, from building plan sanction, issuance of birth and death certificates and drainage connection sanction and processing requests for water supply connections, mutations and redressal of complaints and grievances are available on the virtual platform,” Hakim said after taking charge of the city civic board.

“Mamata Banerjee’s dream is to make Kolkata the best city and I will work as the ‘pradhan sevak’ of the city,” the mayor said.

Hakim’s oath was administered by pro-tem chairman Ram Pyare Ram at the KMC building on Tuesday.

The ruling Trinamool Congress formed the civic board after bagging 134 of the 144 seats contested during the recent KMC polls. Atin Ghosh was sworn in as deputy mayor, while Debashis Kumar, Debabrata Majumder, Tarak Singh, Abhijit Mukherjee, Swapan Samaddar, Mitali Bandyopadhyay, Jiban Saha, Ram Pyare Ram, Sandipan Saha, Vaishwanar Chattopadhyay, Sandeep Bokshi and Amiruddin Bobby took oath as members, mayor-in-council. All the 13 mayors-in-council were sworn into office on Tuesday.

He added that though the KMC has run up a debt to the tune of Rs 700 crore, the civic authorities will strive for the development of the state capital.

Sharing his vision for the KMC and the city’s civic upkeep for the next five years, Hakim said there will be an assessment of the work done by different departments every six months and a report card will be submitted. The same, the mayor said, will help the KMC deliver on its promises in a time-bound manner.

He said the KMC is also planning to rehabilitate hawkers in areas under its jurisdiction. “We have received an approval from the government on rehabilitation of hawkers based on which we will come up with a policy soon,” the mayor said.

He added that the KMC would also strive to reduce air pollution in the city. “Any space we find will be developed as a green space. Greening of the city would be a major focus area of the new board. We will use mist cannon in CBT areas (where movement of vehicles and people are higher) and try to improve the air quality of the city,” the mayor added.

Ensuring uninterrupted water supply and preventing waterlogging would also figure among the priorities of the new civic board, Hakim said. The KMC came in for a lot of flak after extensive flooding in the wake of heavy rainfall had brought the city on its knees.

“Waterlogging is a major talking point in Kolkata. The Opposition often says that Kolkata, instead of London, has turned into Venice. I believe this is an exaggeration as they should visit Madras and Mumbai to know what Venice looks like. The rainfall pattern has changed. There are six pockets in Kolkata which are prone to waterlogging, including Behala, Khidderpore, Amherst Street, Thanthania Kalibari. Two hundred new pumps will be installed in these areas and would be used to boost the capacities of the existing pumping stations or run new ones,” the mayor said.

Hakim added that the KMC would need to take up modernisation of its age-old pumping stations and renovation of canals, for which a letter has already been sent to the irrigation department.

The KMC will open more urban health centres, the mayor said, adding that the civic body will also focus on restoration of the city’s heritage buildings. He further informed that the KMC will bring a law mandating that all overhead cables be shifted underground to boost civic amenities.

He said after the successful implementation of the “Talk to Mayor” initiative, the KMC will soon introduce another programme through which one can send videos and photos highlighting their civic problems to a number on WhatsApp. The persons concerned would be informed once their issues are resolved. He assured that issues surrounding illegal parking would be resolved and an app-based service will be introduced through which motorists can check parking rates and availability of space.

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