July 14, 2011
CM announces BPL card for all 23 blocks in Jangal Mahal
Kolkata, July 14:West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached Sarenga in Bankura district of West Bengal during the last leg of her visit to West Midnapore. The two day long visit marked the beginning of a healthy dialogue trying to initiate peace process between the separatist groups and the government. Chief Minister conducted series of meetings and interactive sessions with the locals and students who approached their Chief Minister with their grievances. Ms. Banerjee on many occasions not only gave a patient hearing but was seen on some instances trying to resolve the issues personally.
It was during her pre-poll campaign Ms. Banerjee during her campaign in West Midnapore promised the locals that she will be back after the Trinamool Congress comes to power. She announced various packages for the development of these remote areas.
She retreated that the problem of ‘Jangal Mahal’ can be resolved only through talks and it is possible only if they are given a financial support. An estimated 230,867 tribals live in four Jangalmahal blocks. “The first priority is to reach food to the poor, the rest will follow. I am trying to explore if forest rights could be given to all tribals”, she said.
Ms. Banerjee informed that the tribals of all 23 blocks in Jangalmahal would be brought under the BPL category irrespective of their income. “I have already spoken to Chief Secretary Mr. Samar Ghosh in this regard and notification would be issued in a month’s time”, she said. Out of an estimated 230,867 tribal families residing in four-blocks across West Midnapore, nearly 919,835 tribals reside in this belt out of which an estimated 125,345 BPL households reside in Bankura alone. “Maybe, 1% of tribals are rich. But why should the remaining 99% suffer due to them?” she said.
Ms. Banerjee retreated that just announcing policies are not enough, implementation of these policies are essential, the government needs to scale up the BPL household figure by over a lakh in a month. “We will have to find means to tide over it. We have to provide people with food, cloth and shelter on a priority basis,” she said.
She instructed all BDOs, SDOs and OCs in Jangalmahal to give priority to cases of hunger-induced illness and provide food immediately. Over seven lakh scheduled tribes constitute nearly 15% of its total population in the area. BPL card will enable these families to get food subsidized by the government.