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March 30, 2015

In conversation with… Sovan Chatterjee, Mayor of Kolkata

In conversation with… Sovan Chatterjee, Mayor of Kolkata

AITC Web Team: The Municipal Corporation elections are a few weeks away. What are the preparations leading up to it?

Mayor: Throughout the last five years, development work has been done in all the wards under the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. From ward number 1 to 144, a lot of work has been happening in every department including roads, lighting, parks, health, drainage and drinking water. Therefore, there is no need to take preparations for the elections separately. Work has been done for the common man and they will vote in favour of us.

AITC Web Team: According to the Opposition, the municipal board failed in the last five years. What would you say to that?

Mayor: Opposition will always criticize. People are the ultimate judge. Work has been done in all the departments and in all the wards irrespective of the political background.

AITC Web Team: Some projects of the Corporation are dependant on Central grants. Did you receive cooperation from the Centre?

Mayor: Before the Lok Sabha 2014 elections, we had sent reports to the Centre regarding several projects like JNNURM, garbage compactors, Tala Park etc. Funds from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission were also sanctioned. But BJP dismissed all such allocation after coming to power. However, that could not halt the surge of development in Kolkata.

The Corporation has achieved success in removing garbage dumps from the city with the quick action financial support from West Bengal Government. Kolkata has been made clean with the compactor machines and movable compactors. Kolkata has been made ‘Vat-Free’ without any support from the Centre.

AITC Web Team: What are the other significant works done by the Corporation in the past five years?

Mayor: Developmental work has taken place in every department. The most significant among all would be the supply of drinking water supply to 95% parts of the city. With the one and half crore gallon capacity water purification system at Garden Reach and the booster pumping station at Chetla, almost 12 wards including areas of Chetla, Alipore, eastern areas of Behala, Thakurpukur, Daspara and Joka would benefit directly and indirectly.

The Dhapa Jai Hind project has also been started which is supplying almost 30 million gallons of purified drinking water to Anandapur, Mukundapur, Patuli, JJ Khan Road and seven booster pumping station and 12 overhead reservoirs.

Also, the Kolkata Improvement Trust has done a great work to improve the drainage system, due to which Kolkata did not get water logged despite of having excessive rainfall from 2012 to 2014. Apart from this entire routine road building and repair work has been undertaken. Roads were repaired swiftly on complaints that were received.

AITC Web Team: What work has been undertaken to beautify Kolkata under the current Municipal Corporation?

Mayor: Our Hon’ble Chief Minister wished that the City of Joy be beautified in a single colour theme. In accordance with that, bridges, road railings, etc. have been painted. Out of the 620 odd parks in the city, almost all have been freshly painted; decorative lights have been installed along the roads.

The 2.5 km riverside along the Ganga from Princep Ghat to Babughat has been beautified. Anti-pollution devices have been installed at the crematoriums and the Nimtala crematorium has also been revamped. The Tangra slaughter house has also been modernised using latest technology and standards.

AITC Web Team: What are your expectations about the upcoming Kolkata Municipal elections?

Mayor: Our strength in the Corporation will increase from what it was last time. We have completed every work that was undertaken. Not a single developmental agenda has been left out. All the Councilors are now waiting for the elections.