During a meeting with the top administrative official of Durgapur, Asansol and Bardhaman yesterday, chief minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her deepest of concerns on three aspects. Pilfering of sand by the sand mafias, coal smuggling and extreme poor condition of the Panagarh-Moregram state highway are the three things about which CM has instructed the administration to take upon during an administrative meeting in Durgapur.
The sand mafia have been wreaking havoc for the few years causing serious erosion to river bunds meant to check floods in the Damodar and Ajoy rivers. The government leases out dry patches of rivers to sand dealers who pay the government revenue against lifting of sand. The land and land reforms department monitors the lifting of sand. Many sand dealers lift sand beyond the permissible limit. There are allegations that the pilfering is done in collusion with a section of land department officials and police.
Miss Banerjee directed the district police and administration to check this menace. She instructed DM, Mr Soumitra Mohan, SP, Mr S M H Meerza and CP, Asansol Durgapur Police, Mr Vineet Goel, to look into the matter. “You handle the matter personally and not leave it to others,” she said.
Smuggling of coal; aptly called the “black diamond”, is one of the biggest areas of concern for the administration of Durgapur-Raniganj-Asansol belt. Indiscriminate mining by coal pilferers causes subsidence. Coal is smuggled at will out of Eastern Coalfields yards in Asansol-Durgapur.
Miss Banerjee has asked the police to conduct regular raids to check coal smuggling. She added by saying, “I have taken initiatives to stop coal smuggling and set up a police commissionerate. But I have information that coal smuggling is still continuing.”
Mamata Banerjee also expressed her concern about the poor condition of road in Burdwan district, specially the 22km stretch of the Panagarh-Moregram state highway in Kanksa, which is riddled with potholes and where fatal accidents and traffic snarls are quite common.
CM said: “I ask the BDO to check the condition of the road and speak to the PWD on repairs. I have heard about traffic snarls in Panagarh and I want the problem to be solved. I don’t know how, but it has to be done. I want good roads in our state.”
The chief minister also asked block development officers to conduct surprise visits to schools to ensure that mid-day meals were being properly provided. She said: “You need to go to the SSK’s, schools and take actual stock of the situation.”
The chief minister also stressed on the need for more schools in the district that has 1:23 student-classroom ratio at the primary and 1:44 at the upper-primary levels.
She also suggested setting up of Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi schools in Burdwan. Responding to an appeal by Mr Apurba Mukherjee, Mayor, Durgapur Municipal Corporation on setting up of a new Hindi medium school in Durgapur, Miss Banerjee asked the mayor to send a proposal at the earliest.
Though the areas of concern has been identified by the CM, but concrete steps and instructions is what required the most. She expressed her concern about the traffic snarls in Panagarh market but in spite of knowing that land acquisition for a diversion at Panagarh can only give a permanent solution, she evaded the issue.