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11 Jan 2017

TMC lists funds data - Deb challenges Asok's bias claim

AVIJIT SINHA and BIRESWAR BANERJEE, TT, Siliguri, Jan. 10:  Darjeeling district Trinamul today published an eight-page booklet to state that the government had spent several crores for the development of Siliguri and its surrounding areas since 2011, challenging mayor Asok Bhattacharya's claims.
Tourism minister Gautam Deb, who is also the Darjeeling district Trinamul president, published the booklet as party supporters staged a day-long demonstration outside the Siliguri Municipal Corporation building demanding the mayor's resignation.
Deb said they had furnished sufficient data to prove that the state was not being biased as alleged by the mayor. "In fact, the amount of money that the state has allotted for Siliguri is highest among all other towns in Bengal, except Calcutta. The state has paid Rs 711.15 crore for infrastructure development of Siliguri and its surroundings and social security schemes for the poor," he said.
The booklet prepared by Deb says since 2011, the north Bengal development department has taken up projects worth Rs 240.58 crore in and around Siliguri. The SJDA has allotted Rs 92.74 crore, including money given by Deb from his MLA fund, it said.
"The SJDA and NBDD have allotted Rs 333.32 crore for Siliguri. The municipal affairs and urban development department has allotted Rs 377.83 crore for the SMC since June 2011. Other departments like library sciences, PHE, PWD and fire services have given funds for Siliguri's development, which we have not included here," Deb said.
He said that during the Left rule when Bhattacharya was the state urban development and municipal affairs minister, Rs 128.22 crore had been allotted to the SMC. "Since 2011, after our government was formed, around Rs 150 crore has been provided, although we were not in power at the SMC for a single day. How can the mayor raise such allegations? These are nothing but political moves to blemish Trinamul's image," Deb said.
Deb told reporters that he will invite councillors of all parties to join Trinamul and oust the board. "We should work together to remove the board and the mayor," he said.
Yesterday, Bhattacharya had said the SMC had received Rs 83.88 crore from the state in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 fiscals and Rs 196.05 crore was due.
Today, he said: "The state should publish a white paper on how much funds the municipal affairs and urban development department has paid to each civic body in the past two years. They should also mention how much money they given to the SMC after we came to power."
He added: "He (Deb) should first check if all councillors of his party are with him."

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