Kolkata: Residents were already incensed that supply syndicates forced them to cough up huge amounts for inferior material when it came to building homes on their own plots. Now, the sudden crash of the Vivekananda Road flyover has revealed that corruption in the material supply-realty sector can claim lives as well.
The focus is now on Sandhyamani Projects Ltd-a material supply syndicate run by Rajat Bakshi, a relative of Jorasanko Trinamool leader Sanjay Bakshi-which won the sub-contract to concrete a part of the flyover that collapsed on Thursday. The company reportedly does not have any experience in the field.
The flyover crash investigators said their probe indicated a bigger nexus. “From the material to be supplied to where the ready-mix plant would come up, the entire decision is taken by a few sub-constructors who claim to be relatives of local councillors. For example, the ready-mix plant of Sandhyamani was set up at Anandapur for the sole reason that a Trinamool panchayat member from New Town, a supplier of material in this project, was apparently comfortable with it. Similarly, councillors from at least two KMC wards, one also an MLA, controlled the labour contracts for the flyover though they did not see eye to eye with each other,” claimed a source.
A councillor from Dakghar in Maheshtala (ward 17) allegedly controls supply of material to the Jingirabazar-Batanagar underconstruction flyover, while the Dhobitala ready-mix material catering to the flyover being built at Ramnagar-Mominpore is controlled by a Garden Reach councillor. Pointing out that prices of construction material were raised before each election, sources claimed small fries would be set “targets” and partymen collected the money on assigned dates. “This is now one of the most organized rackets where big money changes hands in minutes. The exchanges are made at dance bars along EM Bypass and VIP Road,” a source said. Cops recall how they found bouncers at several pubs forming the Trinamool brigade that resorted to violence in the Salt Lake corporation elections.
Even Mamata’s urban development minister Firhad Hakim was allegedly caught on a spy camera, saying it took nearly Rs 1 crore to fight an election to the Lok Sabha. Another sting operation by Times Now on Monday found Bidhannagar mayor Sabyasachi Dutta saying it took nearly Rs 50-60 lakh to contest the assembly elections and that most of the money came from syndicates. “Every Trinamool leader seems to be involved in syndicates and extortion. What is new in it? The sting is just showing them taking bribes and cash on camera. Check a neighborhood, and you will find them easily. They are the ruling party toughs,” senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan said.
Those at the bottom of the money ladder of syndicates are not quite convinced that politicians are “noble”, especially as growing competition was leading to greater violence and diminishing returns. “Several of our men are either agents working for the ruling party or the likes of Bhajai Sardar, who are contesting the polls as a Trinamool man, or have been asked to ensure a handsome victory for the party. Now, it means two things: Some able hands who ensure unrestricted supply of construction material from Birbhum and Burdwan have been diverted and two, more importantly, some of the money were used to control the election machinery,” said a developer operating in New Town Action Area III. He also cited an example: “Many of us have been asked to provide biryani for party cadres every night. Where will I arrange the money from?
[Source:- The Times Of India ]