Sweepers stop work in Bengal civic body; BJP MP Arjun Singh picks up the broom
Arjun Singh, a former four-time Trinamool Congerss (TMC) legislator from Bhatpara and former chairman of the civic body, joined BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and defeated TMC’s two-time MP Dinesh Trivedi from Barrackpore.Updated: Sep 10, 2019 14:04 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party’s Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh took up a shovel and a broom on Monday to clear a roadside drain after Bhatpara municipality’s cleaning workers struck work due to non-payment of salary for last five months.
Singh, a former four-time Trinamool Congerss (TMC) legislator from Bhatpara and former chairman of the civic body, joined BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and defeated TMC’s two-time MP Dinesh Trivedi from Barrackpore.
With Singh switching camps, Bhatpara municipality also went to BJP, becoming the first civic body in the state to be controlled by BJP in June.
On Monday, Singh and his followers undertook a cleaning drive, as heaps of garbage along roadsides were growing bigger with each passing day.
“Our cleaning drive is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. We want to keep Bhatpara clean. Since the cleaning workers are not getting their payment due to the state government’s apathetic attitude towards Bhatpara, we decided to clean the drains,” said Singh.
He said cleaning drains has become an emergency due to the outbreak of dengue in many areas.
Bhatpara municipality is spread over 35 sq km and has 36 wards. The population of the civic body is 3.83 lakh.
According to Somnath Talukdar, vice-chairman of Bhatpara municipality, the civic body’s dues to about 4,000 casual cleaning workers stood at Rs 2.89 crore.
“The government released funds for 27 civic bodies on September 4 but nothing came to Bhatpara’s way. This is vendetta politics,” Talukdar remarked.
TMC, however, refuted the charges.
“The municipalities are supposed to bear all these expenses and the state government merely provides partial assistance. In case of Bhatpara, we need to see if funds are being siphoned off,” said Nirmal Ghosh, TMC’s chief whip in the state Assembly and the party’s observer for North 24-Parganas district.
Ghosh said that the party leaders, including MLAs, will pay a visit to Bhatpara later this week to inquire into the situation.
Bhatpara has remained in the eye of a political storm in Bengal since Singh joined the saffron camp. Bhatpara and the adjoining areas of Jagaddal and Kankinara that are parts of Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency have regularly witnessed clashes between the TMC and BJP supporters since the Lok Sabha elections.
On June 20, two persons were shot dead allegedly when police opened fire during a clash between the two groups of people in Bhatpara, about 30 km away from Kolkata.