With Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s direction to take stringent action soon after getting genuine complaints of filling up of water bodies, local youth in urban and semi-urban areas in the state have started taking steps in helping the police to get information about such activities in their respective areas.
It may be mentioned that Banerjee had given a clear message after the Cabinet meeting on August 3 that the police have to deal with the situation of filling up of water bodies, firmly.
This had come after a real estate agent, who had raised allegation of demanding extortion money from him, was himself found to be filling up water bodies in the dead of the night to construct a high rise.
Officers-in-charge of different police stations in the urban parts in city’s adjoining districts, including Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24 Parganas claimed that they have started receiving anonymous phone calls to pass on information about filling up of water bodies and construction of illegal buildings.
Though some revealed their names, in most cases the callers had requested the police that they were not willing to disclose their names. Police initially thought that those could be prank calls just to check whether the policemen were reacting after receiving the information.
But they rushed to the spot anyway after receiving the information and found that the complaints were genuine.
A police officer posted in Howrah said that most of the calls were from the youth. It shows that though they don’t want to reveal their identities apprehending dire consequences, they are motivated with the message by Banerjee against filling up of water bodies.
Officers-in-charge of some of the police stations, where duty-officers had received most of such phone calls, said that the technique of filling up of the water bodies has changed with the increase in vigil by the police following the direction given by the Chief Minister.
Earlier, they used to engage trucks to dump garbage and sand in the water bodies. But now they have started using the small vehicles like Tata Ace. As a result, it is taking very little time for these vehicles to dump and leave the place. Earlier there used to be some close aides of real estate agents keeping a watch in the area while trucks used to fill up the water bodies. But now no one is present at the spot. Just drivers of the smaller goods carrying vehicles and a helper come to dump garbage.
Thus the police have urged the callers to note down registration numbers of such smaller vehicles so that the police can catch owners of the vehicles and finally reach the person who had hired them to fill up the ponds.
Officer-in-charge of a police station in North 24-Parganas said that in many cases they receive prior information that someone had the plan of fill up a water body. Thus the policemen, who patrol at night, were asked to keep a watch in the area where such water bodies are situated.