TMC vs TMC: Bengal minister slams Kolkata civic body over post-cyclone mess
Minister Sadhan Pandey’s attack on the Kolkata municipal corporation came at a time when the Mamata Banerjee government has been under attack by the opposition over its response to the devastation caused by cyclone Amphan.
Bengal’s consumer affairs minister Sadhan Pandey on Tuesday accused Kolkata’s municipal corporation of lacking preparedness to deal with the aftermath of cyclone Amphan causing immense difficulties for the city’s residents.
Pandey is a senior leader of the Trinamool Congress which also runs the Kolkata municipal corporation.
Pandey’s attack comes at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP,) the Congress and the Left parties have been targeting the Mamata Banerjee government over its response to the devastation caused by cyclone Amphan across south Bengal.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s board has completed its five-year tenure but since the elections could not be held due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the state government had appointed a board of administrators, with the members of the freshly-defunct mayor-in-council as its members and mayor-cum-state urban development minister Firhad Hakim as the chairman of the board.
On Tuesday, Pandey targeted Hakim. “There are more than 140 wards in Kolkata but KMC has only 25 cutters. There should have one cutter in each ward. It is unfortunate that KMC didn’t have this preparation. Meanwhile the municipal commissioner Khalil Ahmed was transferred. He was a good officer. Despite getting the warning at least five days in advance, the KMC’s administrator never discussed the matter with Kolkata’s MLAs. The administrator could have called us and asked for our opinion when the warning came. He never did that,” said Pandey.
In a statement that could embarrass the state’s ruling party all the more, Pandey said that Hakim should have also discussed the matter with his predecessor Sovan Chatterjee. Incidentally, Chatterjee had quit TMC and joined the BJP.
Hakim shot back at Pandey soon after. “Those who are making these remarks have kept themselves locked up in their apartments for the fear of Covid-19. I have been on the streets. I have to fight both Covid-19 and the impact of the cyclone.”
BJP’s state unit president Dilip Ghosh also waded into the fight saying, “I congratulate Pandey for daring the speak the truth.”
In another incident, Abdul Khaleq Molla, the TMC MLA from Metiabruz, sustained injuries when a brick was thrown at him during a protest by local residents at Nadial area over the delay in restoring power supply. In some pockets of Kolkata, power connections which snapped on the day of the cyclone on May 20 returned a week later on Tuesday evening.