- Abhijit Nath, NET Correspondent, Tripura
Agartala, January 27, 2022 : On December 2021, the North Tripura district’s Excise department permitted to open a bar and restaurant in Dharmanagar, but a section of local populace led by Bhagyapur Gram Panchayat’s elected representatives obstructed to open the bar along the region, which they claimed will disturb the peaceful livelihood of common masses.
However, for the first time in Dharmanagar, businessman Swapan Pal received permission for opening a bar and restaurant at the Dighalbak area, after a number of visits were conducted by Excise department officials.
The area is adjacent to Dharmanagar Municipal Council (DMC) and Bhagyapur Gram Panchayat in the Dharmanagar sub-division.
After continuous resistance from local populace, ‘Mahi Bar & Restaurant’ could not be inaugurated during the first period, despite all final preparations.
The office of the Collector of Excise North Tripura District, Dharmanagar had issued a license for the establishment of a Bar for sale of Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), Foreign-Made Foreign Liquor (FMFL), Beer, or any other intoxicant as per Tripura Excise Act & Rules in loose for consumption on licensed premises in name of licensee Madhumita Paul. The period set for the same is from December 5, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday last, Swapan Pal said that the locals were repeatedly resisting to open this bar and restaurant instigated by the conspiracy of Bhagyapur Gram Panchayat Upa-Pradhan Govinda Debnath, elected representative under ruling BJP’s banner. Protesting locals have vandalized parts of the restaurant.
After the villagers blocked the Dharmanagar-Kadamtala road, the road blockade was lifted in the evening with the assurance of Dharmanagar SDM Kamlesh Dhar. Lawsuits and allegations were filed against each other.
Swapan Pal sent letters to the North District Magistrate, the Chief Minister of the state, and even the Prime Minister for trial.
After taking control of the situation and preparing to reopen, Swapan Pal fell again in the face of the locals. On January 24, villagers simultaneously blocked two roads. When the sub-divisional magistrate went to handle the situation and assured the villagers, the villagers lifted the blockade.
He alleged some individuals had created panic in the area for personal gain. Neither the administration nor the political leaders are saying anything. But day after day, Swapan Pal has to pay his taxes and loan money.
When contacted with Govinda Debnath, Upa-Pradhan of Bhagyapur Gram Panchayat, he told Northeast Today that “The businessman Swapan Pal was first informed local people that a wedding house-cum-restaurant shall be opened. Soon, it was found that he had installed a signboard of ‘Bar-cum-Restaurant’, local people reached out to Pradhan and Upa-Pradhan of Bhagypur Gram Panchayat for not allowing such shop to open here in the panchayat area. The area where this ‘Bar-cum-Restaurant’ is opened has certain problems and later intoxicated people will create untoward troubles in coming days. The women force of the area is completely against this.”
“When Swapan Pal was obstructed, I was being threatened by his elder brother. Later, road blockade was held on December 21, 2021, and SDM assured to look into the matter”, said Debnath and alleged that Swapan had behaved badly with a family living near to his restaurant.
He added “We filed FIR with Dharmanagar women police station, till now no justice is being served. Again, Swapan opened his ‘Bar-cum-Restaurant’. Accordingly, we held another road blockade and SDM visited again and assured to take necessary steps in closing down this shop. Today, we went to DM of North Tripura district and gave deputation.”
The Upa-Pradhan of Bhagyapur Gram Panchayat alleged that Swapan Pal has no NOC from local people, temple authority, Tehsildar and police station. He precisely alleged that there is something fishy and the scam is going on in lieu of some money.