UK and KMC jointly conduct workshop on environment sensitisation

A British minister met a few councillors of Kolkata Municipal Corporation in Kankurgachhi on Tuesday to sensitise them on environment-related issues.

Desmond Swayne, minister of state for international development, visited the Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s community centre where councillors of Borough III were present.

The UK government and the KMC had signed a memorandum of understanding when Prime Minister David Cameron visited the city in 2013.

An important component of the effort to build a more environment-friendly city is to make the councillors, who are public representatives at the lowest level of governance, aware of the threats and challenges facing the city.

The councillors were told about the importance of separating biodegradable and non-degradable waste at source and the hazards of eating from thermocol plates. They were also told how plastic items clog drains and cause waterlogging during the monsoon.

Swayne said he was proud of the partnership between the UK government and the KMC.

Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, environment minister Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar and British deputy high commissioner Scott Furssedonn-Wood were present at the programme.

Women Corporators of Kolkata Bring Fresh Development Ideas to their City

Sudharshana Mukherjee is used to a busy life. As a television journalist, she planned her day around the news cycle and often had to burn the midnight oil to meet deadlines.

Today, she is no longer a reporter but her schedule is about to get crazy hectic, with back-to-back meetings and discussions with city officials, municipal workers and, of course, citizens.

Mukherjee is among the 70 women that have been voted to the 144-member KMC for a five-year term. This is the highest number of female candidates ever elected to the municipality and together they will take decisions that will impact the future of the 4.6 million that live in the bustling city.

From businesswomen, professionals and home-makers there is a mix of talented women in the municipality today and each one has brought to the job her unique understanding of issues and a work ethic based on integrity and diligence.

All these require meticulous planning, equitable use of funds and, naturally, a constant know-how on what people want.

Personally, two-time councillor Jui Biswas from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) wants to “lead by example” and put “my  Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree to good use to draw up specific plans for the betterment of the city”. This mother-of-two knows “there is a lot that needs to get done especially in terms of bringing the city’s infrastructure up-to-date” and she has to play her part in the progress.

The female corporators are keen to concentrate on regularising standards of sanitation, drainage and water supply in addition to access to education.


Excerpted from an article that appeared in The Better India

TMC is in, rest all are out: Mamata Banerjee to party councillors

Mamata Banerjee today met the newly elected party councillors, including the outgoing civic body chiefs who won, from across Bengal at Nazrul Mancha to lay down guidelines on how to adhere to a “time-bound” schedule for development activities for the next five years.

Besides the Chairperson, party’s Secretary General Partha Chatterjee, urban development minister Firhad Hakim and the party’s general secretary and MP, Suvendu Adhikari also addressed the gathering.

Trinamool has won 70 of the 91 civic boards in the districts in addition to sweeping the Kolkata Municipal Corporation polls.

A total of 1,425 elected representatives, including the 114 Trinamool councillors in KMC, are expected to participate in today’s session.

Highlights of the Chairperson’s speech:

  • I welcome all the elected representatives who are present here today.
  • People of #Bengal have given a fitting reply to the canards spread by a section of people.
  • We dedicate our victory to the people. This is the beauty of democracy.
  • You have to go to every household in your wards to thank people for their support.
  • We are not here for power. We are just representatives of people.
  • We are here to work for the people. This is our duty. This is our responsibility.
  • Those who perform well must be acknowledged. Those who are committing mistakes must correct their course.
  • We are working for people of all castes, creed, communities.
  • Some people are trying to incite communal tension. It is easy to create rifts. It is not easy to win hearts.
  • Every municipality should organise training camps to make new councillors aware of their duties.
  • I will meet the PM during his State-visit. It is my Constitutional duty which I have to perform.
  • When I was Railway Minister I had initiated several projects for Bengal.
  • When we came to power I said I will develop land maps and land banks. I have done that.
  • We have lost a lot of time because of various elections. We could have done much more.
  • We inherited a huge debt burden. Centre takes away our revenues for no fault of ours.
  • Centre takes taxes from all States and then distributes money to us. They are not doing any favour.
  • Centre has slashed allocations for various schemes like Sarva Siksha Abhiyan & Backward Region Development.
  • They have reduced funds for ICDS. There are no funds for mid-day meal scheme. How will poor students survive.
  • So many people will be out of work if 100 Days’ Work Scheme is curtailed.
  • I will raise all these issues with the Centre.
  • When I don’t meet the PM, media says I am always fighting. When I meet him, they say we have a deal.
  • I am in favour of making the federal structure of India stronger.
  • We are giving rice at Rs 2/kg to the land losers in Singur.
  • We are providing vocational training to Adivasi, tribal students.
  • We have a social responsibility. We are aware of our duties.
  • CPM-Congress-BJP-ABP have formed an alliance.
  • These days anything and everything is presented as news. Facts are not even cross-checked. Lies are spread for TRP.
  • Three districts from Bengal are among the Top 4 districts in India in building toilets.
  • A leader has to take everyone along. Let Opposition continue their slander. We will work for the people.
  • We will celebrate our victory through Rabindra Jayanti function at 4 PM on Saturday in every block.
  • Trinamool Congress is intact. TMC is in. Rest all are out.
  • We gave the slogan ‘Bodla noy, bodol chai’ (We want change not revenge) in 2011.
  • Stay alert. Serve the people in your municipalities. Work for people. Stay well.
  • Young generation must come forward. We have to prepare the new generation.