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July 12, 2013

Mamata Banerjee unplugged on Star Jalsha, Bangla Interview

Mamata Banerjee unplugged on Star Jalsha, Bangla Interview
West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee shared some precious time from her extremely busy schedule to participate in an exclusive talk show aired on the Bengali channel `Star Jalsha`. She began by greeting `Namashkar` to the fellow guests in the programme who are eminent personalities of Bengal and pleaded to have a casual chat with them over a cup of tea.

In response to the question from the eminent footballer Syed Rahim Nabi, on the ` Jal Dharo Jal Bharo` scheme Ms. Banerjee said,  “From my childhood days I have had immense love for Mother Nature. I don`t know as a child why and how I felt so deeply for nature. I feel nature is like my mother`s `anchal`. I have seen that Purulia, Bankura, Birbhoom, Bardhaman, West Midnapur and other `lal mati` villages have major water crisis. People don`t get drinking water and water for irrigation. People`s suffering in these regions had moved me so much that I thought of the ` Jal Dharo Jal Bharo` scheme. The initiative was to dig and cut out ponds in the villages where there was water crisis. This could provide multiple benefits and advantages to the poor people like for example, the rainwater that previously got wasted could be stored in the ponds for agricultural use, villagers could practice pisciculture and improve their financial condition, flood disaster could be controlled, and most importantly biodiversity and natures beauty could be restored. Moreover, cutting of pond is a part of the 100 days work guarantee programme, hence villagers could cut ponds and earn an income. I had promised Bengal will have 50,000 ponds in 5 years, but you will be happy to know that more than that has been created in just 2 years. “

She added, “Imagine in Bengal we import fish from Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, but why should this be the case? We have enough natural resources to meet the demand of fish in the State. The Govt. is already working on this project to improve the infrastructure so that Bengal can soon not only produce its own need but also export to other states, this will generate revenue for the state too. The completion will take time, but the process has started. “

Popular Bengali film actress Srabanti Chatterjee Biswas and film director Raj Chakraborty questioned the CM on women`s safety and security in the state. On a very serious note, Ms. Banerjee replied, “we have always severely condemn incidents of sexual violence against women and I feel there is a need for a massive social awareness. In the few resent cases the police have taken immediate action in arresting the offenders and even made charge sheets against them.  We need to appreciate the prompt police action. The Govt. has established 112 fast track courts in 2 years time, out of which 45 are especially structured only to address women`s grievances. This has been done because I have always believed that justice delayed is justice denied. We have established 19 Human Rights Courts in each district, we have set up Minority Bhawan, Khadya Bhawan, 341 blocks in Bengal is getting cold storages, kisan bazaars, warehouses, information technology institutions (it is), poly-technique colleges, the State will get 45 women police stations out of which 10 are already functional. We are doing as much as possible in every sector. We have taken action against culprits within 27 days of a rape incident. We are recommending life sentence and death sentence for sex offenders. No other state government has taken this step. We are the first. But here I would like to say that the people of Bengal will not forgive those who try to play petty politics on such grave issues. Bengal`s women, mothers and sisters are safe. When and if such incidents take place, the govt., police, judiciary and the society has to handle it sternly and punish the culprits so that these crimes are eradicated from the society. There are so many incidents that had taken place during the Left regime but no action had been taken. A senior leader like Jyoti Basu had said on the Bantala case that `such incidents happen`; but we say such incidents should never happen. Not even one. We will always take strong action. We have acted on party members for their wrong doings; we are impartial to crime and criminals and hence constitute a just and fair government. “

She added, “during the chit fund scam, the police arrested the accused from Kargil within days. Why the same was not possible during the Sanchaita-Sanchaini scam when the CMP ruled? I have announced a Rs. 500 crore fund for the depositors. As I did this some people started saying the chit fund company bought my paintings for cores. But I give my paintings to the news paper `Jago Bangla` in affidavits. I write books, I have to run the party. But some people are only up to spreading false allegations about me that have no limit.
In response to a question from Rahim Nabi on sports and alternative sports, Ms. Banerjee said, “many closed clubs in villages and districts have been reopened. 1500 clubs participate in an annual football tournament in Jangalmahal. I wanted to encourage women to participate in sports and you won`t believe I was surprised to find out the talent the rural girls possess. They can achieve any heights if they get proper training. We will make such provisions too. Govt. has given Rs. 2 lakh to 1500 clubs. The 3 major football clubs have received Rs 1 crore each. New clubs are also being encouraged. As Youth Sports minster I had started these initiatives. We encourage alternative sports and thus have taken many more initiatives. “

Eminent poet Joy Goswami stated that the Govt. has taken several initiatives to uphold Bengal`s rich culture, literature and heritage, like for example established Kaji Nazrul academy, Rajbangshi Bhasha academy, Birsha Munda academy, Nepali academy and many more. He asked the CM why such initiatives are not being highlighted and publicized by the media so that the common people get to know about it. In response the CM replied, “this is our misfortune that the people are not getting to know about the govt.`s effort. In every state people support the positive efforts of the govt. and help them to function better, but I am sorry to say and I do not want to hurt anyone`s sentiments, in Bengal people do behave like crabs and pull you down if you try to achieve something. We are fighting against this odd and do keep trust on the people. “

She added, “ media must pay a more responsible role, and just not sell any news as `Breaking News`. “

In response to a question asked by the popular Bengali film actor Dev, regarding the CM`s personal safety and security, Ms. Banerjee answered, “ I am not like a typecast Chief Minister, I`m more like a `didi` next door. I do not use the Chief Minister`s chair as well, I have bought a common man`s chair where I sit at the Writers` Building. I belong to a simple family, and that is my identity, that`s my pride. I started the trend of randomly inspecting hospitals as they were in a disastrous condition, no beds available and expensive medicines. The poor and the middle class were being made to face several other challenges. So we have started fair price shops. In 65 years of independence only 59,000 hospital beds were created whereas in 1 and half year we have created 10,000 hospital beds. Since independence 1300 seats in med colleges were created, but we managed to create additional 700-800 seats. 35 multi super hospitals are in making in the state, and old hospitals are being modernized. Work is being done in every district, this need lot of planning and we have done it in so little time. We don`t have money, we are in debt due to the previous government`s callousness, I`m generating extra income in the state, but the centre is taking away all the money. My life has been and will remain a struggle. I`m a fighter and will always strive hard to overcome all difficulties. I had promised the people of Bengal a change, ` Paribartan` and so my fight is for them. People know how I have struggled; CP(I)M had almost beaten me to death at Hazra, they are nasty but I don`t like such self publicities, so let`s not talk about it.“

“Jangalmahal is getting peaceful, Singur is getting justice, Hills are still a part of Bengal, tourism is flourishing in Darjeeling (all of you please visit the new sites we have inaugurated), villages are developing, medical facilities are being provided to people at 60% concession, new film cities are coming up, eco tourism is being promoted, education and business loans are being provided to the rural youth, electric power banks are created, in next 3 years Bengal will export power to other states, employment banks, land banks, land maps, land use policy, e-governance, e-tender in all departments, all women universities, Dwijendralal Ray Stadium, Satyajit Ray Stadium, and the list of our initiative in every sector continues. So much work is already completed and lot more is in the pipe line“ said the Chief Minister.

“We have started `Kanya Shree` scheme for the rural girl students of class 8-12 so that they get scholarship of Rs. 500 and as they turn 18 years the government will give them Rs. 25,000 so that they can opt for a higher study or any career path of their choice.  Their parents don`t have to worry or get them married off at an early age. This will also put a check on child malnutrition as young girls give birth to under nourished children. I believe health is wealth and the girls especially should be in very good health so that they give birth to a healthy new generation. This scheme will also prevent girl child trafficking. “ said the Chief Minister.

Ms. Banerjee said, “ I`m always intending to help people and be by the people. To make the development work in the state more widespread we need the Maa, Mati and Manush panchayat this time. I believe no government body should be corrupt, even if it is at the ground level panchayats, there should be proper supervision at every level. “

“ Entire Bengal is my family. `Ashar Alo` is a hope of ray for the people of Bengal. I am born in this golden land and hope to die here, but most importantly this land should always be a subject of pride in our hearts, “ she concluded.