Kolkata, April 22: A known face in south Kolkata's Jadavpur for championing the cause of disappearing water bodies, environmentalist Mohit Ray hopes to carry forward his activism since college days to mainstream politics as a BJP candidate contesting the West Bengal assembly polls from the constituency.
"Locals have helped me in preserving water bodies and they know me well. I have worked on human rights issues extensively in Bengal and in Bangladesh. So joining the BJP is an extension of my activism for a pluralistic democratic government," Ray, who holds a PhD for his research on environment from Jadavpur University, said.
Born into a refugee family, Ray, armed with a post graduate degree in chemical engineering from the University Of Manchester, UK, is an established name in the field of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and has worked for 15 years with two internationally renowned environmental consultancy organisations.
As a priority he intends to push for maintenance of canals and strengthening drinking water supply in Jadavpur, in South 24-Parganas district, if he wins.
"In some areas there is a drinking water problem. There is a huge loss of water from supply lines. Canals are also not maintained and they need to be improved. In addition, I want to look into the problems related to urbanisation and development (mushrooming promoters etc.) along the EM Bypass route leading from Jadavpur," he said.
In a constituency that is home to over 2.6 lakh (2,69,638) voters, Ray is pitted against West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress candidate Manish Gupta, also the state's power minister, and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) veteran leader Sujan Chakraborty, a doctorate in pharamaceutical science.This is a constituency which witnessed history being made in 1984.
Asked about the criticism levelled at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allegedly compromising environmental protection and clearing the way for developmental projects, Ray conceded it was a matter of concern.
"Any country, in general faces this. I can take up the issue," he added.
Jadavpur goes to the polls in the fifth phase on April 30.