May 20, 2013
Exclusive interview of WB Chief Minister on the 2nd anniversary of Maa, Mati, Manush Government.
On the eve of commencement of the 3rd year in governance, West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee, in an exclusive interview to ABP, addressed various debatable issues of the recent times.
“An elected Government remains in office for 5 years; 2 years is not even half the time span, yet the Bengal Government has a heap of achievements to be proud of. And this is just the beginning, we will continue our endeavor with a greater zeal to bring back Bengal`s golden era“ said the Chief Minister.
Ms Banerjee stated, “ I am not against industrialization; but I am not completely unanimous with the people who believe that industrialization only means cores of investment on hundreds of acres of land. Small, medium and even cottage industry plays an integral role in the overall advancement of industrialization. Durgapur is about to get the second largest Iron and Steel plant, thanks to the initiative of SAIL and a Japanese company that is investing 20 thousand crore rupees. Besides, power plants at Raghunathpur, Alipurduar, Katwa, Deep Sea Ports at Sagar and Rasulpur, film city at Siliguri, etc are in the pipeline. I am hopeful that IT giant Infosys will soon start their Bengal chapter. We want to provide them with all the SEZ facilities and Industrial Minister Partha Chatterjee is not leaving any stone upturned to get this operational. I believe we will be successful in this venture as well. “
“ My answer to all the political oppositions and false allegations targeted upon us will be the work we are doing. Our success records will be the answers to the critics. Bengal`s GDP is higher than the National average in financial year 2012-2013. National GDP is 4.96% where has Bengal has recorded 7.6 %. Countering the false allegations, records prove our industrial growth is 6.24% which is double of that to the national average 3.12%. In the MGNREGA, that is the 100 days work our state is in number one position in the nation. We have establishes these facts with the Planning Commission the reports are declared after proper evaluation“ added Ms Banerjee.
Chief Minister reiterated that the debt imposed on the new government by the previous government is more than 2 lakh crore of rupees and in respect to that the Center is making huge deductions from the state`s treasury. “In spite of such adverse circumstances we have been able to maintain financial equilibrium and have not let the common man feel the pinch. Our government curtains all unnecessary expenses but here I would like to mention that it is my duty to restore the state`s glorious culture and heritage and hence related expenses are essential.“
“Our party is transparent, I can challenge we have nothing to hide. We do not use illicit money for party work. We have till date never asked for financial assistance from any individual or organization for the party. We are proud of this fact and hence the allegations made by a few do not perturb our integrity. State Government`s official proceeding has no correlation with the party office, whereas during the Left regime files from writers` were first passes through Alimuddin Street. During the 35 years in power, CP(I)M has assembled cores of assets, that party knows various tactics to steal people`s money. Unfortunately, we have not imbibed such deceptive ways of earning money; to sustain the party`s expenses I make paintings and write books“ said Ms Banerjee.
Ms Banerjee added that “It will be wrong on the part of those people who want to make generalizations or reach a conclusion about a government`s overall intension based on the deeds of one or two representatives. Attending an official inaugural programme and having been clicked beside a chit fund company owner does not mean that an elected official is taking money from chit fund. If that is the case then political leaders will never be able to attend any inaugural function. One or two people out of 100 representatives might be different, investigation is on, and our government will not give refuge to anyone found guilty. I do not understand the logic behind why our Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh is being dragged into this? He was only an employee of the company, and as far as I understand the salary he was offered was at the discretion of the company owner. He received his salary though cheques, hence that cannot be illicit money. I do not defend any one, and will not even in the future. My statement is based on the present circumstances. This attacks and allegations are intentional to destroy the image of the government based on some vague information. I can provide a list of names from the media world who have taken chit fund money but it is not my job to defame anyone. I would not have given out any information on the connection between CP(I)M and Saradha Group as well, but I was compelled by our former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya to do so. He announced in the media that he and his party had no association with any chit fund organisation, and tried to mislead the masses. Hence it was my duty to present the facts to the common people to see and understand for themselves. Attending an inaugural programme of a chit fund company and attending the wedding of the daughter of a chit fund company owner cannot be equated on same grounds. Our government has introduced a bill in a matter of no time so that this illegal money laundering can be stopped immediately. What was the previous government doing all these while? All the chit fund agencies have mushroomed during their regime. Why was a faulty and incomplete bill introduced by CP(I)M if they genuinely wanted to stop chit funds? Why dint they incorporate the corrections even after the Centers recommendation? Why did the Center give the permission for such deceiving business in the first place? What was the interest behind these repeated blunders? I want an investigation on this. “
“We have never been informed by the Central about the number of illegal chit fund organizations functioning in Bengal. On our own initiative we gathered information about 73 such organisations. In the interest of the depositors we have formed a commission that is investigating the matter. Our government has initiated the talks on introducing a Social Security Schemes so that the interest of the investors are safe guarded. We are open to suggestions from the people and only then will we proceed further. The interest rate of the scheme may be low but investor`s money won`t be lost“ added Ms Banerjee.
Ms Banerjee also added, “ the syndicate-raj menace of Rajarhat area and collection of forced subscriptions has lessened from before but not yet completely wipe out.“
“ I have always stated that entire Bengal is my family; I don`t have a separate family. Abhishek Banerjee`s lawyer has filed a defamation suit on the concerned CP(I)M leader and the proceedings will take its own course. Also, we have suspended Munna (Ikbal) and Shambhu Kau from the party for their wrong doings, and they are behind bars. This is the difference between the CP(I)M government and us. I can face the storm with courage and I am not afraid“ Ms Banerjee concluded.