"Do I Have To Sweep Streets Now?" Mamata Banerjee Raps Civic Body Chiefs

The meeting assumes significance as the ruling party was trailing in 69 out of the 121 civic bodies in the recent Lok Sabha polls, a deeper scrutiny of the Lok Sabha results shows.

'Do I Have To Sweep Streets Now?' Mamata Banerjee Raps Civic Body Chiefs

Mamata Banerjee was speaking at a meeting held in the state secretariat. (FILE)


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had a scathing question for the state's civic body chiefs today: "Even streets are not swept. Do I have to step out to sweep the streets now?" Ms Banerjee was speaking at a meeting held in the state secretariat, Nabanna, attended by municipal body chiefs, her cabinet colleagues and a few MLAs.

"Some people are taking bribes and allowing encroachment. Why don't you understand that Bengal's identity is being tarnished because you people are taking money? Wherever there is land, it is being encroached," she said.

The meeting assumes significance as the ruling party - now gearing up for the civic elections that are to be held in the state next year - was trailing in 69 out of the 121 civic bodies in the recent Lok Sabha polls, a deeper scrutiny of the Lok Sabha results shows. 

Raking up the issue of Bengal's identity being tarnished, Mamata Banerjee said, "A load is being placed on our shoulders. After this the state's identity will be finished. We will not find Bengali-speaking people anymore. Everyone knows Hindi and English today. I am not demeaning any language. I am making them bigger when I say this."

"Remember each state has its own identity. It has culture. We like other cultures too and respect them. But those who are embroiled in a conspiracy to spoil Bengal's identity, I am warning all of them when I say this. In exchange for money, Bengal's identity should not be spoilt. This is my first and last warning," she warned.

The Trinamool Congress chief, who is in charge of the Land Department, recently sought a report on illegal land encroachment in Bengal.

"Government property and land are being encroached and it was being allowed for money. Government property is not anyone's private property," she fumed.

Pulling up her own party MLA and state minister Sujit Bose, she said, "Don't listen to any MLA, MP, Minister, DMs. Don't make it a habit. Stop making money. Sujit Bose is here. Salt Lake is in a mess."

Sujit Bose is the MLA of Bidhannagar, also known as Salt Lake.

Continuing her tirade, she next inquired about the Howrah district magistrate: "Is Howrah DM here? Councillors are not there and MLAs are taking advantage. SDOs are not working. You know what advantage they are taking."

"I will not allow any illegal activity and encroachment. I will not tolerate it anymore," she said.

She also alleged that those who encroached land "have voted for the BJP".

Further attacking the Centre, she said, "The central government is selling Bengal's water. They built Hydel projects on Teesta. Earlier there were tripartite meetings. There is no water in Teesta. They think just because they have won north Bengal, they will do whatever they want. They are selling Bengal's water. I will write a strong letter to the PM. There is no dredging in Farraka and now Kolkata port is affected."

"They built 14 dams in Sikkim and now they want to give away water to Bangladesh. If there is a plan to deprive Bengal, there will be a protest. Even I want friendship with Bangladesh. I have started trains to Bangladesh," Ms Banerjee said.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bengal Chief Minister had objected to the talks on water sharing between the Centre and Bangladesh. "Such unilateral deliberations and discussions without consultation and the opinion of the state government is neither acceptable nor desirable"," she rubbished Centre's proposal for sharing Teesta water.

She also urged the PM to not hold any such discussion with the neighbouring country without involving the West Bengal government.

In talks over the weekend, the two sides signed 10 agreements providing for bolstering ties in a range of critical areas such as digital domain, maritime sphere, blue economy, railways, space, green technology, health and medicine.

The government said that a technical team will be sent to Bangladesh soon for a mega project to conserve and manage Teesta river.