The people of Kolkata have put their faith in Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and given her a mandate that even her detractors cannot trivialise. Out of 141 wards in Kolkata Municipal Corporation, 95 have been won by TMC candidates.
With great power comes great responsibility. Mamata Banerjee has a tough job laid out in front of her. She wishes to adorn the chair of the Chief Minister of Bengal. That seems quite attainable under present political scenario in Bengal. But the Communist Party never gives up. Bengal is at a junction which could take us either back by light years or herald the beginning of a new era.
During the last five years, the performance of the KMC has been below average. Condition of roads deteriorated, trees were felled indiscriminately, ponds were handed over to private real estate agents, a little spell of rain caused havoc on the roads.
Expectations are sky high. A lot needs to be done. Say for example roads. Most roads are in a sorry state. After every monsoon huge potholes stare at us. At many intersections no proper traffic management system exists.
A major threat facing this city is the loss of green cover. The Times Of India has reported today that the city’s greenery has been reduced to 5% while for a metro it should be at least 15%. Its an alarming situation. Trees are felled at places to make roadside temples, hoardings are indiscriminately put up on trees, branches are pruned according to convenience. KMC did nothing to check that. At least they should plant some trees in exchange of the ones that are sacrificed.
The Stephen’s Court Blaze pointed out how vulnerable some buildings in Calcutta are. It is KMC’s duty to inspect the old buildings susceptible to fire disasters and take proper actions to prevent the same. Nandalal Market is one such case (our CM has assured of demolition of the market).
These are a few of the civic amenities that people expect from the Municipal authorities. Issues like garbage disposal, street lights, illegal encroachment of pavements by emigrants, supply of sufficient drinking water are some of the other pressing issues.
The biggest problem in Kolkata at the moment is drainage. A project to modernise the underground drainage system had been undertaken by the previous regime and i hope the work continues. We do not want to relive the horrors of July 2006,2007 and 2008. During the monsoons my home turns into an island. In fact the worst affected are the posh areas like Mandevilla Gardens, Camac Street, Ballygunj phari etc. Let us not talk of North Calcutta at all. This should be the chief focus of the new Board.
And above all we need accountability. The Councillors should not ignore the people who voted them to power.
I wish to see a vibrant Kolkata five years down the line (no i don’t want Kolkata to be the next London’ we can do much better).