A third of the city population residing in the 5,000-odd slum areas could well be consigned to live in the shadows, even as the bright neons of the Trident, a legacy of the Trinamool Congress board at the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), lights up the city streets come the festive days this year.
At a time the state administration has been busy pitching Trident lights on several prominent thoroughfares in line with the chief minister’s pledge to give the city a London-like makeover, the majority of the slum areas have been literally under the shadows. Reason? Poor maintenance of lampposts and not enough bulbs and neons in the civic reserves to light up the dingy lanes and bylanes of the slum areas.
When quizzed on the perceived indifferent attitude of the city civic headquarters towards the slums, Rajib Biswas, Borough III chairman and Beliaghata councillor, said, “It is very unfortunate that while a section of society spends their Puja days under the glare of Trident lights, those residing in the slum areas would literally continue to live in darkness.”
Biswas further claimed that despite repeated attempts on his part to light up the narrow lanes and bylanes of the slum areas, all pleas fell on deaf years of the civic bosses at the Trinamool-run board at the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).
“Half of the lights in the slum areas are either broken or are without jacket fittings. No repair or maintenance work had been mobilised, despite the Puja being barely a week away. This despite the fact that the civic board has a made a budget allocation of Rs. 85 crore to the electric department,” Rupa Bagchi, leader of opposition in the KMC, told HT.
The opposition benches in the civic headquarters have further alleged that all resources of the lighting department at the KMC has been mobilised towards fulfilling the chief minister’s vision of pitching trident lights across the city, with a view to giving it a Rajera look.