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Last Updated : Aug 20, 2019 02:14 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Didi blasts minister after learning 400 slum dwellers in Howrah share just two toilets

The Trinamool councillor of the area has been languishing in jail since June 2017 after having been convicted in a murder case.

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After a long hiatus, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee emerged in her street fighter avatar on August 19. Didi invoked her signature style from the yore and dropped by a Howrah slum, walking through dingy alleys, striking up conversations with the residents, to create a connect and hear out their grievances.

It remains unknown whether it is a reflection of the Prashant Kishor effect or an extension of the party’s makeover plan. What is certain is that the CM lost her calm when she learnt about the deplorable living conditions of the slums there. She was furious upon learning that there were just two public toilets available for use at Number 2 Round Tank Puranabasti in Ward 29, where close to 400 people reside.

The maverick CM had taken a pit stop there on her way to an administrative meeting, reported NDTV. So, when she finally reached the venue, she hauled up Firhad Hakim, Minister for Urban Development and Municipal Affairs.

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Addressing the minister by his nickname Bobby, she asked him why 400 hundred slum dwellers had to share two toilets and bathrooms. “Two toilets and bathrooms. Why? We give money for slum development. Who is the councillor? What's he doing?” she said.

After a long pause, an attendee of the meeting informed her that the Trinamool councillor of the area had been languishing in jail since June 2017 after having been convicted in a murder case.

Unperturbed by the news, Mamata then pointed out that even if the councillor was in jail, the municipality still existed, which could have done something about it. She further asked why the administrator was not overseeing his/her ward. She then told Hakim to ensure that all the problems of the slum dwellers were fixed within the next seven days.

“What is the problem with providing more bathrooms - six or eight at least? What if that was the situation at your home? If there is a provision, why can’t we provide?” Mamata said.

Notably, an administrator oversees the work at Howrah Municipal Corporation since elections, supposed to be held there in December, are yet to take place.

The CM next halted at popular seaside tourist destination Digha, located about 200 km from Kolkata, the state’s capital. There, too, she held an outdoor meeting with senior party leaders while interacting with local fishermen, asking about the problems they face.

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First Published on Aug 20, 2019 02:14 pm
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