Siliguri, May 7: Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) in north Bengal on Friday cancelled leaves of its workers and employees, amid a raging second wave of COVID-19, an official said.
The decision was taken after senior TMC leader and former legislator Gautam Deb took charge of the civic body as chief of the board of administrators, he said. "We have cancelled leaves of workers and officials of the SMC to tackle the pandemic situation effectively," Deb told reporters here. The board of administrators also decided to send its employees, who now do not have any work at the office, to various wards to oversee the COVID situation in the metropolis, he said.
The urban development department in West Bengal reconstituted the board of administrators of the civic body on Thursday and appointed Deb as the chairman of it after he failed to retain the Dabgram-Fulbari seat in the recently-concluded assembly elections. Other members of the board are Rajan Sarkar, Vivek Baid and Alok Chakraborty. CPI(M) leader and former state minister Asok Bhattacharya, who was earlier mayor of Siliguri and had served as the head of the board of administrators.
The tenure of the board of the Left parties in the civic body expired in May last year. Elections to several civic bodies of the state, including the SMC, have been postponed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Deb said the board of administrators will consult with Bhattacharya and Sankar Ghosh, the newly-elected MLA of BJP from Siliguri, to manage the COVID situation in the city.
Bhattacharya had contested the assembly polls from Siliguri on a CPI(M) ticket and finished third, while TMC nominee Omprakash Mishra secured the second spot. Situated in Darjeeling district, the civic body has 47 wards, and 14 of them fall in neighbouring Jalpaiguri. The coronavirus tally in the two districts stood at 46,130 till Thursday, and 458 people have succumbed to the disease.
West Bengal's COVID-19 fatalities rose to 11,964 on May 6 after 117 deaths, the highest so far in a single day, were reported. The caseload also mounted to 9,35,066 after the state registered a record one-day spike of 18,431 fresh infections. - PTI