BENGAL POLITICS: Politics first and always!

BENGAL POLITICS: Politics first and always! – no concern for proper governance first, population to always suffer in Bengal ?!!

From The Statesman

KOLKATA, 1 JULY, 2010 (SNS): Vote bank politics would continue to come in the way of demolishing the six illegal floors of the controversial Nandaram Market despite a directive of the Supreme Court being in place. This was apparent from the statement of the minister for fire and emergency services, Mr Pratim Chatterjee, in the Assembly today.

During a debate on the departmental budget, Mr Chatterjee told the Opposition: “Whenever KMC employees (during the Left tenure) wanted to demolish the illegal floors leaders from Opposition parties chose to lie down on the streets to prevent them from even entering the building. You are saying that our rule will not last anymore. Demolish it when you come to power and it will be our turn to lie down on the streets.”

Earlier, the Congress Legislative Party leader, Dr Manas Bhuinya, had called for Mr Chatterjee’s resignation in view of his failure to take action in view of the fire at Stephen Court and Nandaram Market. He criticised Mr Chatterjee “for becoming a minister on quota” and failing to equip the department with modern fire fighting techniques.

Mr Chatterjee admitted that half of the amount (Rs 15 crore) he got from the finance department for procuring equipment was spent on buying two ladders. However, even after procuring the ladder it was not possible to save more lives at Stephen Court “because ladders cannot be kept in your ground floor and they have to be brought from faraway places. (sic)” “No other city has so many (read two) ladders. In other countries they have separate bays used by the police and emergency services to reach the spot but this is not possible in a country like ours,” added the minister.

A quick scan of the budget statement also revealed tall and ridiculous claims such as that the fire department employees were being trained to “tackle newer eventuality like chemical hazards and dirty bomb explosions of radio nuclides.”  The minister also spoke of setting up a special cell to examine safety norms pertaining to high risk buildings.

In House, CM boots out SP – and does nothing to KL Tamta in Darjeeling but rewards him with a promotion – accepting collusion ?!!


Calcutta, July 1: A Left Front legislator’s declaration that “people hate police” coaxed an unusual response from Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today: the chief minister announced in the Assembly the removal of a superintendent of police over political clashes.

Bhattacharjee said Birbhum SP Rabindranath Mukherjee was being removed for his inability to “firmly deal with the situation” in Nanoor where former CPM MLA Ananda Das was killed on Tuesday. The CPM is blaming the Trinamul Congress for the murder.

Police officers had been shifted earlier, too, but rarely had such transfers been announced on the floor of the Assembly and for failure to tackle political clashes.

The chief minister’s announcement came after RSP MLA Tapan Hore, whose constituency Bolpur covers Nanoor, said in the Assembly that people had started hating the police for inaction that led to Das’s murder.

“Police reached the spot two hours after Das was brutally killed. People are hating the police for its inaction. When we visited Das’s house yesterday, we could not take them (the police) along with us because of people’s anger against them. What steps are you taking to tone up the district police administration?” Hore asked the chief minister as other Left members looked on.

The chief minister, who had made a statement on the Nanoor violence a few minutes ago but did not make any mention of the police officer, then said: “The present SP of Birbhum is unable to firmly deal with the situation. This is why I am removing him and sending someone who can effectively handle it.”

Later in the day, Humayun Kabir, the additional superintendent of police (headquarters) of Burdwan, was assigned the task of policing Birbhum. Mukherjee, described by colleagues as a “soft-spoken and polite” officer who writes poetry and acts in plays, has been shifted to railway police, Howrah.

The action of the chief minister, who is also the police minister, in itself is not surprising. He has been under pressure to act from the CPM which has been complaining that the police, smelling the possibility of a change of guard after successive election setbacks to the party, have turned against its supporters.

CPM state secretary Biman Bose later said the Nanoor murder could have been avoided had the police intervened at the “appropriate time’’. “Trinamul men are creating anarchy. The administration has to come forward and do the needful. But there are places where the administration and the police are not doing their bit,” Bose said.

But the platform and the manner in which the chief minister made the announcement — many thought the transfer was a spur-of-the-moment decision — surprised veterans.

Senior legislators said they could not recollect a chief minister making an announcement on the removal of a district police chief in the House. “I have been a member of the House since 1969 but I cannot recollect an event in which the chief minister had announced such a removal,” said octogenarian Congress MLA from Kharagpur Gyan Singh Sohan Pal.

Speaker Hashim Abdul Halim said: “In the recent past, I have not heard about the chief minister announcing the removal of a police chief on the floor of the House.”

Police murmur: top cop a victim – in Bengal but not in Darjeeling ?!!


Nanoor, July 1: Rabindranath Mukherjee, the Birbhum superintendent of police who was transferred today over the murder of CPM leader Ananda Das, was a “victim of circumstances”, colleagues and police sources said.

The sources said Mukherjee, a first-time police super, was “not directly responsible for the cop inaction” that Das’s family alleged was responsible for the CPM leader’s death.

Das had been dragged out of his Nanoor home on Tuesday by alleged Trinamul Congress supporters and shot dead.

Caught unawares by the chief minister’s announcement that he would be transferred, Mukherjee said he was yet to know “the reason behind my sudden removal”. “I joined the office here only 11 months ago. I don’t know why I am being removed within such a short span,” he said over the phone.

Mukherjee had said yesterday that he was informed by local Left leaders about the attack on Das and the CPM’s zonal committee office. He said he had “immediately” sent reinforcements from neighbouring police stations. “But by the time they reached, it was too late,” Mukherjee had said.

The police sources said it was the responsibility of the local police to control the mob. However, the eight cops who had reached Nanoor at the time of the attack were outnumbered by the 250-strong mob.

However, Das’s wife Hasi had alleged yesterday that the police did not arrive even after the leader had made frantic calls to them when he saw the mob vandalising the neighbouring party office.

Police sources said the Nanoor police reacted late because they “had failed to realise that the mob would turn so violent”. “The local police apparently thought the mob would ransack the party office and then disperse. But they had no clue that the mob would target Das,” a police officer said.

Mukherjee, a promotee IPS, will now take over as the superintendent of the railway police in Howrah.

Police officers in Birbhum and Burdwan, where he had been deputy superintendent (headquarters), said Mukherjee was soft-spoken and polite. He also writes poems and has acted in several plays at police events, his acquaintances in the police department said. “He is a perfect bhadralok,” a police officer said.

Police sources said the Nanoor episode was the first time that Mukherjee had been drawn into a controversy.


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