Millennium Post

Would step aside as Mayor if a single waterbody under KMC jurisdiction is filled up: Hakim

Kolkata: State Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim said on Wednesday that he would step aside as the city's Mayor if a single incident of filling up of waterbodies takes place under the jurisdiction of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).

In reply to a question raised by Congress MLA Asit Mitra in the Assembly, Hakim said that KMC has been implementing laws not only to protect the ponds and other waterbodies, but also to take stringent action against those who would attempt to fill up ponds.

"I would resign from the post of Kolkata's Mayor if I fail to check an incident of filling up a waterbody. It is our duty to protect our environment as our future generations will face the implications otherwise. Those who make such attempts are nothing short of criminals. I also urge all the MLAs to be alert and thwart such attempts," Hakim told the Assembly.

The Mayor sent across a strong message that an FIR would be started against the officer-in-charge (OC) of a particular police station if he fails to check filling up of waterbodies under his jurisdiction.

Hakim told the house: "OCs should take prompt action if any such case is reported. If any OC fails to take appropriate steps, an FIR would be lodged against the officer. The preservation of environment is the top priority of the government. Our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is a lover of the environment and we are committed to protect it."

He also said that KMC has spent Rs 75 crore for the re-excavation and renovation of 130 ponds under its jurisdiction in 2018-19. Taking a dig at the previous Left Front government, Hakim said that waterbodies were rampantly filled up in various parts during the previous regime, but the present government has ensured that no such incidents occur anymore.

"Filling up of waterbodies in the past has already had an impact on our environment. There will be no recurrence of such incidents," Hakim assured.

"KMC has waived up to 90 percent taxes for those who will protect the waterbodies. The civic body conducts survey of the premises before sanctioning plans. A vigil is also being conducted to find out if any constructions have been made illegally by filling up waterbodies. In the past couple of years, the tendency to fill up waterbodies has gone down," Hakim maintained.

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