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May 26, 2011

Chief Minister prioritize pro-poor projects

Chief Minister prioritize pro-poor projects

Kolkata, May 26: Upliftment of the Adivasis and the poor forest dwellers of Jangalmahal has been her focus since Mamata Banerjee became the Railway Minister. She made clear her plans to carry it forward within a week after taking charge as Chief Minister. 

On Tuesday, Mamata held a four-hour meeting with the District Magistrates, Police Superintendents, the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary and the other top brass in the state administration and took some important decisions regarding reaching out to the poor — foodgrains, old-age pension, SC/ST/OBC certificates, money under social security projects and job opportunities. Several key ministers in her cabinet — Partha Chatterjee, Amit Mitra and Manish Gupta — were also present at the meeting. 

All the DMs were also asked to submit a “status paper” on their respective districts to prepare a blueprint for development. In the meantime, however, anti-poverty measures would get immediate priority, Chatterjee said. 

The Chief Minister asked Finance Minister Amit Mitra to see how the embargo on social security projects — taking into consideration the condition of the state’s treasury — could be lifted so that people get old-age pensions and workers` allowances, which many have been denied for so long. 

 “The Chief Minister especially said that drinking water and allotted food grains must reach the poor, especially in the backward districts of Jangalmahal and to poor labourers of North Bengal tea gardens,” said state Commerce and Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee. A special cell will be formed to ensure tea garden workers get benefits under social security schemes. 

During the meeting, the Chief Minister asked DMs to ensure that the delivery system, which is in a shambles, is revived as quickly as possible and the poor get their due. “There are a lot of grievances over BPL cards, SC/ST/OBC certificates and these have to be redressed. The Chief Minister has asked the district administration to identify the weaknesses and reach food to the poor, beef up and monitor the system.” She also reviewed centrally aided government projects and asked officers to see that people get jobs for at least 100 days a year under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme. 

Officers have been asked to urgently submit reports to the Chief Minister on unused land under every department so that a land bank can be formed. That apart, a meteorology department will be formed so that all environment-related studies can be undertaken by it.