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Waterbodies being filled up illegally in Kolkata; will face crises soon, says HC

twitter-logoPTI | July 15, 2019 | Updated 19:03 IST

Kolkata, Jul 15 (PTI) Observing that waterbodies are being filled up illegally in Kolkata and its adjoining areas for construction of buildings and other establishments, the Calcutta High Court Monday said if such activities continue, these regions will soon face water scarcity. It is unfortunate that waterbodies are being filled up randomly, with the government doing nothing about it, Justice Samapti Chattopadhyay said. Everybody seems to know what is happening around, except the government, she stated, while hearing a petition by Bidhannagar mayor Sabyasachi Dutta. Dutta has filed a plea in the court challenging a notice sent to him by some Trinamool Congress councillors for his removal from the post. His lawyer Bikash Bhattacharya submitted before the judge that the mayor was being "victimised" for demolishing several unauthorised construction and initiating action against illegal filling up of waterbodies. Hearing this, the court said it was aware of illegal construction and waterbodies being filled up in Kolkata and adjoining Bidhannagar (Salt Lake and Newtown). "Everything is going on under the nose of the government; we are seeing waterbodies being filled, everybody knows but the government does not know, am I to believe it?" Justice Chattopadhyay observed. Referring to filling up of ditches along the VIP Road, which connects the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport with the city, she asked "whose interest is it serving?" Justice Chattopadhyay said it is unfortunate that hapless taxpayers are the ones who suffer. Given the way waterbodies are being filled up, very soon there will be water scarcity in the city like in Mumbai and Delhi, she observed. "I do not understand why they are taking this wrong path. Don't they have any knowledge about global warming and its effects?" the judge asked. Submitting for the mayor, lawyer Bhattacharya claimed that the notice sent to him by the commissioner of the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation is illegal. It has to be given by the chairperson of the civic body as the mayor is an elected member and a government officer cannot give a notice of his removal. Opposing the argument put forward by Bhattacharya, additional advocate general A Majumdar submitted that the commissioner gave the notice on direction from the chairperson and there is nothing illegal about it. Justice Chattopadhyay directed that chairperson of the corporation Krishna Chakraborti be made a party in the petition of Dutta and that notice be served on her. The court fixed the next date of hearing for Tuesday. Dutta, against whom several councillors have reportedly expressed lack of confidence, moved the Calcutta High Court Friday, seeking quashing of a notice served on him on July 9 by the civic body's commissioner. Challenging the July 9 notification, which sought a special board meeting to remove him, the mayor claimed that it was illegal and as such should be quashed by the high court. He also submitted before the court that the notice did not confirm to the procedures laid down under the West Bengal Municipal Corporation Act, 2006. The mayor wondered how a notice for a meeting could be signed by the commissioner who is on leave. Several councillors in the corporation have reportedly signed a resolution expressing no-confidence in the mayor, following which the notice was served to Dutta. In the eye of a political storm over his meetings with BJP leader Mukul Roy, Dutta has been at loggerheads with his party leadership for sometime. In his petition, he claimed that the attempt to remove him from the post of mayor is a sinister coup to transfer power for satisfaction of personal egos. PTI AMR RMS KJ KJ

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