TT, Siliguri, June 3: Mayor Asok Bhattacharya today claimed that portions of land owned by the Siliguri Municipal Corporation in two places on the outskirts of the town had been transferred to individuals.
He said recent land records showed the “anomaly” and the SMC commissioner would soon write to the Jalpaiguri district magistrate requesting him to look into the matter.
“We have come to know that land measuring around 16.49 acre, which is part of an 87 acre plot that the civic body has in Fulbari for a water treatment plant, has been recorded in the name of an individual. The plot was purchased by Siliguri municipality in 1950,” Bhattacharya said at a news conference here today.
“The civic body owns another 1.27 acre plot near Don Bosco School off Sevoke Road. According to recent land records, a portion of the plot – around 0.63 acre – is in the name of an individual,” the mayor alleged.
“Our officials were surprised to learn about the changes in the land records. How can ownership of parts of land belonging to the SMC go to an individual? The SMC commissioner will soon write to the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri with a request to look into the issue and make it clear to us how such anomaly could happen. We suspect that some local leaders of the ruling party are involved,” Bhattacharya added.
In the past five years, several allegations have been raised against Trinamul leaders from areas like Fulbari, Dabgram and the Eastern Bypass for laying claim to land belonging to others.
“There have been instances when it has been found that fake documents to prove ownership of a plot have been prepared by these leaders who then force the owner to sell it to them at a cheaper rate,” a senior Trinamul leader in Jalpaiguri said. “Trinamul district leaders in Darjeeling, including minister Gautam Deb who is the MLA of Dabgram-Fulbari, have time and again raised these issues at party meetings. But the racket is still active.”
According to him, with rapid urbanisation in and around Siliguri and construction of the Asian Highway – that will pass through Fulbari – land prices have soared in the southern and south-eastern parts of Siliguri. “But we cannot buy what the mayor has said. It can only be clear if the land records available with the land and land reforms department are verified,” he said.
Vishwanath, the district land and land reforms officer of Jalpaiguri, said if they got a complaint on the two plots, the matter would be looked into. “We have not yet received any specific complaint . If the civic body files any complaint on changes in land records or ownership, it will surely come to us. Under such circumstances, our department will surely inquire,” he said.
Today, Bhattacharya also said that local Trinamul leaders had taken control of a sub-health centre of the SMC in ward 34. “They are running a local party office from the centre. We have informed the administration,” the mayor said.
Speaking about other issues, Bhattacharya said he had spoken to state PHE minister Subrata Mukherjee about improving drinking water supply in town. “As of now, the demand for drinking water is around 55 MLD (million litres per day) whereas we can supply only 40 MLD. I have spoken to the PHE minister and sought assistance from his department so that we can meet the demand,” he said.