Chorus of dissent grows louder

'Whistleblower' loses post in KMC reshuffle

Tuesday's reshuffle in Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), which had the stamp of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, caused a huge uproar on Wednesday with many voices within the Trinamool Congress questioning the rationale behind stripping party councillor Tarak Singh the charge of Entally workshop despite his role in unravelling the trident lamp post scam.

It was Singh whose letter to Urban Development Minister Firad Hakim had brought to fore the alleged scam as he questioned why contracts of installing trident lamp posts in Kolkata were given to private parties at higher rates even though similar poles are manufactured at the Entally workshop at a much cheaper rate.

Singh, who has now been given the charge of bustee department of the KMC, refused comment on the reshuffle.

"The manner in which Singh has been a shunted out reflects poorly on the party's image. The decision may hit the party's fortune in the KMC elections," said a Trinamool councillor on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, Congress councillors, who have been demanding a CBI probe into what they call a "big scam", termed Singh's transfer as "unethical". "It will only encourage corruption and send a message that those who will expose corrupt elements in the KMC will be punished," said Prakash Upadhyay, a Congress councillor.

Union minister Deepa Dasmunsi said that she called Singh on Tuesday and congratulated him for exposing the corruption. "He had come to Delhi to brief me about the scam," she said.

The Opposition has claimed that one trident lamp post costs something around Rs 9,000. But without floating tenders, contractors were appointed to install trident lamp posts at a much inflated rate. KMC authority, however, argued that tenders were not floated because all the tender had cost less than Rs 5 lakh. Mayor Sovon Chatterjee has rejected the demand for a CBI probe and has been referring to the internal audit currently being conducted.

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