KOLKATA: The Bengal government identified 52 municipalities out of 125 civic bodies which are yet to achieve open defecation free (ODF) status and assigned 10 officials of joint secretary rank to sort out the issue.
After securing deep inroads in Bengal in the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP is preparing for the municipal elections armed with issues like dengue outbreak, ODF and illegal constructions in alleged connivance with the ruling party’s local councillors. Municipal affairs and urban development minister Firhad Hakim directed to spend the grant received from the Centre under the scheme of Swachh Bharat Mission within December 7.
Earlier, the state government identified 42 municipalities without ODF status but the Centre found 52 civic bodies are yet to meet the parameters of Swachh Bharat Mission to achieve the status.
Sources in the urban development department said the state government would take measures to upgrade municipal areas with ODF status to ODF Plus category. “Ensuring supply of water and constructing concrete structures are the parameters of a municipality with ODF Plus status,’’ said an official.
The joint secretaries will hold a meeting with the 22 additional district magistrates and officers-in-charge (municipal affairs) shortly at the office of the municipal affairs and urban development department in Bidhannagar. After conducting the meeting the joint secretaries will visit the municipalities without ODF status in districts across the state.
“The additional district magistrates and OCs have been asked to attend the meeting with utilisation certificates of the constructions under the Swachh Bharat Mission scheme.
Dhankhar-TMC verbal spat continues
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday asked ministers in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet to concentrate on their departments instead of reacting to his statements. He also said either the chief minister herself should react or depute a specific minister to respond to his statements. “I have heard junior health minister Chandrima Bhattacharya reacted to my comments. I would request her to concentrate on her department as all of us are aware of the real condition of the department,’’ Dhankhar said.