January 7, 2014
WB CM Mamata Banerjee`s healing touch for Amlashole
Ms. Mamata Banerjee became the first Chief Minister of West Bengal since independence to visit Amlashole in West Midnapore, which was in news in 2004 due to starvation deaths.
Since the Trinamool Government came to power, a lot has changed in these villages like Amlashole, the existence of which was ignored earlier. During Left Front rule, this village made international headlines for starvation deaths; now, two-and-a-half-years after regime change in the state, that spectre has changed – the villagers get rice through the public distribution system at Rs 2 per kg, the village has roads and drinking water facilities have reached the people.
The Bengal Chief Minister chose this village to spread the light of development. The main purpose of her visit to the village was to launch the `all weather rural road network`, where 1 km road was being constructed in all the 3349 gram panchayats across the state.
The Chief Minister, on her way to Amlashole, got down from her cavalcade and interacted with the local people, inquired about their problems, and walked to the village.
While addressing the people gathered at Amlashole, she reminded the people of her earlier visit and said that she was aware of their plight. She asked the members of the local administration to form plans for developing the area with immediate effect.
Excerpts from the Chief Minister`s speech today:
I welcome all who are present today. I have not come here to hold any meeting. I came here to see the area and hand over some government benefits and services to the people present.
Today we are constructing 16,000 kilometers of village roads across the state. One road is being constructed here. This will be a concrete road and will connect the village with Purulia as well as the state of Jharkhand. Students in this place need to travel a lot for going to school. We will set up a Madhyamik-level school in this region.
The area you live in is a beautiful place. The area boasts of jungles, hills, waterfalls; there are has huge tourism potential. A huge population in this region is poor. I have visited Amlashole in past. At that time people were dying of hunger. I am happy that the Amlashole that was in the news for deaths because of hunger can now avail rice at Rs 2 per kilo. We have given the people of this region food security. We need to do a lot of work in the sectors of health, education and employment generation. There is shortage of drinking water. We are setting up a proper system for water supply.
71% of the people here belong to Scheduled Tribes. A number of families in these areas have already completed 85-95 days of work in the 100 days` work scheme. We are willing to give them 200 days` work. It is necessary for the people, so that they can be self-sufficient and fend for themselves.
I am instructing all the government officials in these areas, from the District Magistrate to the BDOs, to visit the villages repeatedly and conduct surveys regarding welfare schemes. Every aid meant for the people should be provided immediately. I want the people of Amlashole, Kankrajhore, Binpur, Banspahari or Belpahari to be well-off; the flood of development should reach these places.
Today we have launched the construction of 16000 kilometers of rural at 3349 Gram Panchayats across the state. Work of constructing 1 km road in every Gram Panchayat has started today. In future, with the help of PMGSY, there will be roads connecting farmlands and crop markets. We have selected the places located in the interiors of the districts for this, because they have been neglected for years.
Jungles are our environmental wealth. Let there be no bloodsheds in these places. These should not be any disturbance here. Let people live well. Peace will bring prosperity for all. We have to cautious and not let some hardliners take advantage of poverty and sow seeds of violence in this area because if there is peace, your children will be safe. This region has always been violence-prone. Today is the anniversary of the tragic massacre at Netai. I never forget these dates.
I request all of you to make the Kanyashree project successful. Do not marry off your daughters before the age of 18. Let them study and be self-sufficient. I request my brothers to help our sisters and help them move forward. We have also included Ol Chiki language as the medium of examination for Government jobs.
The residents understand best, what is required in their area. We will see through your eyes, listen through your ears, feel through your heart and then do the work. Compile all your needs, submit a plan, and I will ensure the work gets done. The ADM will be sending plans of development for these areas within 15 days.
I wish you all to be well. People from these areas who once lived under abject poverty, dissociated from mainstream, will one day show the way to the world. I wish you all to be in good health and spirits.