Bengal
No action against pond filling at Bantra
  • The Statesman
  • 24 Jul 2013
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statesman news service
Kolkata, 23 July
Despite a direction by the state fisheries department three years ago to take "immediate action" against filling up of a pond at Bantra in Howrah, local administration has not taken any steps to stop the move. 
The state fisheries department had sent the letter {memo number: 445/1 (7)} to the officer-in-charge of Bantra police station on 11 July 2011 asking  it to "treat it as an FIR". The assistant director of fisheries department had asked police to take action against the present owner of the plot, which has the 15-cottah pond, and the person engaged in filling up the pond. 
Local people alleged that neither police nor the district administration took "proper steps" to save the pond at 129, Narasinga Dutta Road near Kadamtala at Bantra. An inquiry conducted by the department revealed that the water body was owned by a doctor, who had left the place after selling off the property. 
On 21 July, local residents found a man felling an age-old tree situated just beside the pond. They intervened and stopped him from felling it. Police were informed. "In a bid to save the person, who was felling the tree, from being detained,  another person came forward and police took him to Bantra police station. But, we came to know that he was released by evening," said a local resident.
Around eight huts, which were also situated within the premises, were also damaged overnight and the debris was dumped into the pond in a bid to fill it, alleged local residents. Still, people who are residing in a two-storeyed building located on the same premises, dump waste materials in the pond, locals said, adding that this is a slow but a steady process of filling up the pond.
The fisheries department had maintained in its two-year-old letter that "25 per cent of the water body has already been filled up by extraneous materials" and stated that the illegal filling of water body warrants legal action as per provision of West Bengal Inland Fisheries Act, 1984 (amended and that also a cognisable and non-bailable offence. The letter was also forwarded to the district magistrate and other senior officials. Moreover, local residents also brought the matter to the notice of the local MLA, Mr Jatu Lahiri. But, the "slow process of filling up the pond" is still going on.

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