Former minority affairs minister CPI(M) MLA Abdus Sattar has accused the Trinamool Congress-led government of stalling a number of minority welfare projects initiated by him.
“We had constructed the Azizul Haq Bhavan at Baithakkhana Road and Bangabandhu Bhavan at Taltala for those minority students of Maulana Azad College, who come from outside the city. It is commonly observed that many poor students are often compelled to put up at accommodations that are too expensive for them. We wanted some seats to be reserved in Azizul Haq Bhavan for students of Aliah University as well. But for the last one and half years, the government hasn’t provided electricity connections to these hostels,” Sattar said.
Sattar’s allegations are significant is as much as chief minister Mamata Banerjee has kept the minority affairs department to herself. When quizzed on the charges, Bikram Sen, principal secretary of minority affairs and madrasa education, refused comments.
“We also wanted to construct an eight-storied B.Ed college at Haji Mohsin Square, where the lessons were to be imparted in both Urdu and Bengali. We had planned to house the morning section for girls and day section for boys,” said Sattar.
“We had also completed 80% of construction of a working women’s hostel at Dilkhusa Street in Park Circus. The present government hasn’t been able to complete the remaining 20% despite being in power for one-and-a-half years,” he added.
Sattar, deemed that one of the minority poster boys of the CPI(M), was elected MLA from the Amdanga constituency in 2006 and was handed the department of minority affairs and madrasa education in the then Left Front government.
Sensing widespread resentment among Muslims towards the Left regime since 2009, he was entrusted with the task of wooing back the community, which had been showing signs of alienating from their Left moorings.
“We wanted to construct another six-storied building in Dilkhusa Street that was to house a community hall on the ground floor, a school for dropouts on the first floor and a girls’ hostel in the remaining four floors. Since the locals there are poor, they can’t afford to arrange for functions at venues, which charge high rates. The community hall could thus have been a handy and cheap option. However, Trinamool leaders and workers formed a Math Bachao Committee’ and stalled the project,” Sattar said.
The Trinamool Congress’ historic mandate had been boosted by a fair slice of minority vote and the party, ever since being voted to power, has announced a veritable slew of projects for the community.
“We had identified 148 cottahs opposite Chittaranjan National Medical College for the girls’ campus of Aliah University. The varsity was to impart lessons in nursing, paramedical sciences and primary teachers’ training among others in Urdu and Bengali,” said Sattar. “We even presided over the foundation event, but the present government has since shelved the project. Again, we wanted to put together a coaching academy along with a hostel near Sealdah station, where the students were to be trained for various competitive exams at affordable rates. This project too has been stalled,” he added.