When TMC minister’s response to Mamata Banerjee over lack of toilets at Howrah slum left Bengal CM red-faced

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Published: August 20, 2019 3:02:25 PM

The slum falls under the jurisdictions of the Howrah Municipal Corporation. The corporation is currently under an administrator because elections are due to be held. The elections were slated for December last year but polls have not been held yet.

Howrah slum, slum in howrah, mamata banerjeeWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visits a slum area in Howrah district of West Bengal on Monday. (PTI Photo)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was left embarrassed on Monday when she was told that her party councillor responsible for undertaking development work at a Howrah slum where she paid a surprise visit on Sunday had been arrested in 2017 in a murder case, leading to a stalemate in projects that were to be taken up. On Monday, Banerjee dropped by a slum in Howrah where she met the locals. She visited people living at the No. 2 Round Tank Puranabasti in Ward 29. While enquiring about the problems being faced by locals, she was told that there were only two toilets in the slum which is home to around 400 people.

This angered Mamata who then pulled up the government officials who were accompanying her. When she asked Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim why only there were only two toilets for 400 people, there was momentary silence. Someone then told her that local Trinamool Congress councillor has been in custody in a murder case since June 2017.

“Bobby (pet name of Hakim), your department was told… I visited a basti (slum) on my way here. Four hundred families. Two toilets and bathrooms. Why? We give money for slum development. Who is the councillor? What’s he doing?” she asked, only to be informed that the councillor was arrested two years ago.

The response stunned Mamata, but she listened to it and then asked why municipality officials are not monitoring the wards and set a deadline of seven days for Hakim to address the grievances of the public living in the slums.

The slum falls under the jurisdictions of the Howrah Municipal Corporation. The corporation is currently under an administrator because elections are due to be held. The elections were slated for December last year but polls have not been held yet.

“… but the municipality is there. It is under an administrator. Why are you not overseeing the wards? I am telling you, in seven days you have to visit all the slum areas and fix their problems,” she told the minister.

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