রাজনৈতিক প্রতিহিংসার নামে এই রাজ্যে যে কুকথা বলা হয়, তা দেশের অন্য কোথাও হয় না : মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়

আজ নজরুল মঞ্চে অনুষ্ঠিত হল তৃণমূলের বিশেষ কর্মী সম্মেলন। এই কর্মসূচিতে উপস্থিত ছিলেন তৃমমূল সুপ্রিমো মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়, অভিষেক বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় সহ আরও নেতা নেত্রীরা। এই অনুষ্ঠানে মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় এর বক্তব্য :

আজকে যারা কাজ নেই কর্ম নেই, অকাজ – কুকাজ, এবং বড় বড় কথা বলে বেড়ান। তাদের আমি বলব, আমরা যখন বিরোধী দলে ছিলাম

আমরা কিন্তু কখনও ডেসট্রাক্টিভ কিছু করিনি। কন্সট্রাক্টিভ করেছি। একটা রাজনৈতিক দল যখন তৈরি হয় তখন তার অনেক দায়বদ্ধতা থাকে। দায়বদ্ধতাকে মানতে গিয়ে কোথাও কোথাও অনেক কঠিন পরিস্থিতি সামাল দিতে হয়। আমরা বিরোধী আসনে থাকাকালনীন যেমন ডেডিকেটেড ছিলাম। মানুষের ওপর অত্যাচারের বিরুদ্ধে একমত হয়েছিলাম। আজও সেই সংগ্রামই করতে হচ্ছে।

বাংলায় ১০ কোটির বেশি মানুষ। উন্নয়নের কাজের দিকে নজর না দিয়ে একটা-দুটো ঘটনা নিয়ে মিডিয়া হইচই করছে। একটা-দুটো ঘটনাও কাম্য নয়।

মার্চে বছর শেষ হয়। আবাস যোজনার টাকা পাঠাচ্ছে ডিসেম্বরে। কীভাবে ওই সময়ের মধ্যে টেন্ডার ঢেকে কাজ হবে? এটা আমাদের ব্যর্থ হিসেবে দেখানোর একটা চেষ্টা। এটা অসহযোগিতা। আমার অসহযোগিতা চাই না, আমরা সহযোগিতা চাই।

কেন্দ্র ১০০ দিনের প্রকল্পের টাকা দিচ্ছে না। তারপরও আমাদের থেকে ২,০০০ কোটি টাকার বেশি ৪৮ লাখ কর্মদিবস তৈরি করা হয়েছে।

গ্রাম পঞ্চায়েতের টাকা আগে রাজ্য সরকারের মাধ্যমে যেত। এখন সরাসরি যায়। তাই নজরদারি রাখার কাজটা কঠিন। কিন্তু রাজ্য সরকার সেটা করছে। তাই বিডিও ও অন্যান্য আধিকারিকদের সঙ্গে বৈঠকে ডাকা হয়। দেখে রাখতে হবে যে এখানে কী কাজ হচ্ছে না, কেন হচ্ছে না, সেটা জানতে হবে। কৈফিয়ৎ তো পঞ্চায়েতকে দিতে হবে না। মানুষের কাছে আমায় কৈয়িফৎ দিতে হবে।

আমরা মানুষের কাছে দায়বদ্ধ। আমরা যত এগোব, তত তৃণমূলের দায়বদ্ধতা বাড়বে।

দুয়ার সরকারের মতো মানুষের দরজায় পৌঁছাবে তৃণমূল কংগ্রেস। দুয়ারে সরকারের অপর একটা রূপ হল দিদির সুরক্ষাকবচ।

দিদির সুরক্ষাকবচ নামটা আমার দেওয়া নয়। তৃণমূলের তথ্যপ্রযুক্তি সেল সেই নাম দিয়েছে।

রাজনৈতিক প্রতিহিংসার নামে এই রাজ্যে যে কুকথা বলা হয়, তা দেশের অন্য কোথাও হয় না।

আমরা ঐক্যবদ্ধ ভারত চাই। যুক্তরাষ্ট্রীয় কাঠামো মজবুত করতে হবে। বৈচিত্র্যের মধ্যে ঐক্যের পক্ষে আমরা।

 

Abir Ranjan Biswas’s Special Mention in the Rajya Sabha on 22.12.22 on vacancies in seats reserved for SCs, STs and OBCs in higher education institutes

Sir, according to the Education Ministry, India’s elite higher educational institutes like IITs and IIMs are far behind in fulfilling their commitments to ensure inclusivity in higher education. The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 mandates 15 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 27 per cent quotas for SC, ST and OBC students respectively. However, the intake of students under the reserved categories in IITs and IIMs are much lower than the mandated norms. The acceptance rate of applications for SCs, STs and OBCs in IIMs has been below four per cent for the past four years. Sir, IIM Ahmedabad received 200 Ph.D. applications from SCs between 2018-19 and 2021-22 but only two have been accepted. They got 78 applications from STs; out of which only two were accepted. During the same period, IIM Bangalore accepted three out of 188 applications by SCs and none out of the 52 applications by STs were accepted. IIM Calcutta accepted nine out of 219 applications by SCs, IIM Lucknow accepted nine out of 78, IIM Kozhikode accepted two out of 298 and Indore accepted four out of 97. There is a serious under-representation of STs with only 2.5 per cent, that is, only 137 students out of 3,430 eligible applicants admitted across all IITs. Last year, 137 out of 3,430 ST candidates and 574 out of 17,075 SC students secured admission. Less than 10 per cent of all PhD candidates at IITs in 2021 were SCs. Even for OBC reservations, most of the IITs are below the mandated 27 per cent. The Government should take necessary steps in this regard. Thank you.

Santanu Sen’s Special Mention in the Rajya Sabha on 22.12.22 on the need to study cardiovascular diseases among young people

Sir, until now, heart attack was thought to be a condition that only affected the elderly and heart attack among the youth was considered abnormal. However, the instances of heart attack among the people under 40s are on the rise, including young people in their 20s and 30s. This is a scary trend for a nation with the largest youth population in the world. India specific data regarding heart attack in people under 40 is sparse. Indians suffer from cardiovascular disease at a younger age as compared to other countries. As per the Indian Heart Association, 50 per cent of all heart attacks in Indian men occur when they are under 50 years of age and 25 per cent when they are under 40 years of age. There has been a three per cent increase in cardiovascular disease among Indian women from 1990 to 2019, while globally the rate of cardiovascular disease among women has declined. The rise in heart attacks is attributed to various reasons: onset of diabetes at an early age, rising rate of obesity, sedentary lifestyle, excessive drinking and smoking, consumption of drugs, hypertension and stress. Some studies have found an increase in heart attacks post-Covid. The Government should encourage the youth to adopt a lifestyle that may decease the risk of cardiovascular diseases. There is a need to collate and study the data on occurrence of heart attack in people under 40 years of age. Appropriate trainings for conducting CPR and emergency response to heart attacks should also be conducted.

Shanta Chhetri’s Special Mention in the Rajya Sabha on 22.12.22 on top soil erosion from the Himalayas in Darjeeling and Sikkim

Sir, I would like to draw the kind attention of this august House to the Task Force set up around 1980 by the Government of India which found that more than 250 million metric tonnes of valuable top soil and boulders are annually being washed down to the rivers and valleys from the Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya alone. This will result in bleak future for the farmers of the hilly region unless some urgent measures are taken up. Therefore, I humbly urge the august House to draw the kind attention of hon. Agriculture Minister to it and take the help of experts in this field for sustainable land use pattern in the Himalayas.

Mausam Noor’s speech in the Rajya Sabha on 22.12.22 on The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022

Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I thank my party, All-India Trinamool Congress, for giving me this opportunity to speak here. I rise to speak on the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022. This Amendment adds entry 37 entry under Tamil Nadu to the Schedule in the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, including Narikovaran and Kurivikkaran Tribes to the list of STs. An estimated 30,000 individuals or 8,500 families in Tamil Nadu belong to this community, forming 0.1 per cent of the State’s population. They were classified as the Most Backward Classes till now. But, that put them in competition with more affluent communities. For example, in 2005, the percentage of STs below the poverty line in rural Tamil Nadu was 32.1 per cent, which is below the national ST average of 47.3 per cent; but, that of the rural OBC and others was 19 per cent. The Lokur Committee in 1965 and the Joint Committee of Parliament in 1967 had recommended the inclusion of this community, pointing out their deprived and vulnerable situation. In 2013, the Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, on the recommendation of the Tamil Nadu Government, and with the approval of the Registrar General of India had agreed to the proposal for inclusion of these communities. Yet, it has taken nearly a decade for the Government to bring an amendment to include them and to extend them the benefits and safeguards which they require and are entitled to. The 2011 Census said that 8.6 per cent of the country’s population was composed of tribal people, amounting to 10.4 crore people. I urge upon the Government to conduct the 2021 census at the earliest so that we can update our data and provide benefits to our most vulnerable citizens. There is a need to release the previous data of the Socio-Economic Caste Census, and conduct the 2021 SECC as well. Let me share some data about the situation of the Scheduled Tribe people in today’s India. A 2022 study by the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics says that life expectancy of adivasi men 5 years lower and advisai women was 4 years lower than the so-called upper-caste Hindus. The NCRB Report of 2021 says that atrocities against the Scheduled Tribes have increased by 6.4 per cent and 12,159 cases of atrocities against the Scheduled Tribes were pending at the end of the year. There was also an increase in violence against advasi women at 26.8 per cent, with rapes against the STs, accounting for 15 per cent of the total rape cases. Similarly, 95.4 cases of atrocities against the STs were pending trial at the end of the year. And, what is the Government doing? To pave way for an ecologically devastating NITI-Aayog-proposed project of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation, the Government has approved the destruction of the forest homes of the particularly vulnerable tribal group, called Shompen, and the Scheduled Tribe Great Nicobarese. Now, new Eklavya Model Residential School guidelines also require 15 acres, and for the school to be set up in sub-districts where more than 20,000 ST people reside, comprising at least 50 per cent of the population. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment had recommended that the criterion be reviewed, pointing out that many forest and hill districts would have trouble finding 15 contiguous acres of land for setting up of schools, and scattered population of tribal people will have to travel far distances to access education. I urge the Government to review these requirements. The educational situation of Scheduled Tribe communities also raises concerns. As per the 2011 Census, the literacy rate for Scheduled Tribes was 59 per cent as compared to 73 per cent for the general population. The Gross Enrolment Ratio(GER) of SC and ST students at the under-graduate level, standing at 23 per cent and 17.2 per cent respectively, is short of the national average of 26.3 per cent. The Central Educational Institutions (Reservations in Admission) Act, 2006, mandates 15 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 27 per cent quotas for SC, ST and OBC students. However, the acceptance rate of applications for SC, ST and OBC in IIMs has been below four per cent for the past four years. The IIM, Ahmedabad, received 78 Ph.D applications from STs between 2018-19 and 2021-22, but only two have been accepted. The IIM, Bangalore, accepted only three out of 188 applications by SCs and none out of the 52 applications by STs. Only 2.5 per cent or 137 ST students out of 3,430 eligible applicants were admitted across all IITs in the last year. In contrast to that, there are 23.51 per cent SC and 5.8 per cent ST of the total population in my home State of West Bengal. According to 2011 Census reports, the STs’ literacy rate in India was, male -68.5 per cent and female – 49.4 per cent. Whereas the West Bengal STs literacy rate was male – 74.15 per cent and female – 43.51 per cent. We have put in place an SC/ST Pension Scheme to take care of the vulnerable elderly in these communities. We have also established various lending programmes to help grow entrepreneurship in these communities. Bengal is the only State in India where a dedicated Scheduled Caste Advisory Council has been set up. This is our vision for the welfare of the Scheduled Caste, which is sadly not being mirrored at the Union level. Our Constitution recognises group identity and its importance for social empowerment of the marginalised. Via these provisions, the Constitution balances between the history of injustice faced by certain groups, and personal liberty. People must be given an assertion of their group identity. Treating every person as an individual would not be sufficient to gain equality and equity of personhood, as it will ignore their different lived realities and caste/tribe identity which require the protection of law. It is the duty of the State to ensure these protections reach people in the best way possible, in both letter and spirit. Thank you.

Md Nadimul Haque’s reply in the Rajya Sabha on 22.12.22 in response to the Health Minister’s statement regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in India

Mr. Chairman, Sir, the Ministry of Health is doing a very commendable job and it is very much appreciated that they are taking steps. I have a few suggestions to make. There should not be any shortage of oxygen. I am sure, all the Ministries and the States and the Centre are looking into it. The migrant population last time suffered a lot. Steps should be taken so that the scenario is not repeated. There should be an increase in health professionals and also some financial help given to the States. Lastly, we all are responsible citizens. It is our duty also to make sure that all the Covid protocols are followed. सर, इस बार मत बोिलएगा िक थाली बजाओ। Thank you, Sir.

Sukhendu Sekhar Ray asked during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha on 22.12.22 whether the government is taking any steps to investigate the archaeological remains of Chandraketugarh in Bengal using satellite and radar technology

Sir, Chandraketugarh near Kolkata had been a centre of civilization right from the fourth Century B.C. and an international hub of maritime trade. My question to the hon. Minister is: Would the Government explore the mounds of Chandraketugarh also for high resolution satellite imaging along with ground penetrating radar to search the buried sites as has been done in other States. Sir, I had specifically asked whether the Government was considering Chandraketugarh for exploring.

Abir Ranjan Biswas asked in the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour on 22.12.22 about the steps being taken to prevent ill-treatment of foreign tourists

Sir, though my question does not relate to this subject, yet it is of grave concern. Sir, it often appears in the media… Sir, foreign tourists are ill-treated by goons and miscreants. And, this paints a very gloomy picture of our nation abroad. I would like to know what effective steps the Government has taken or is contemplating to take in order to combat this menace.

Santanu Sen in the Rajya Sabha requested the government during Question Hour on 22.12.22 to solve the issue of a company named VFS creating problems in issuing UK visas

Sir, I would like to put this question to the hon. Minister. So far as U.K. visa is concerned, there is one organization called VFS which is creating so much of problems. Even if the family members are giving applications together, they are getting separate dates. They are literally in a mood of minting money. My question to the learned Minister is: Why can’t this VFS sort of organization be tackled properly? Though I must appreciate that whenever our learned Minister is approached personally, he happens to be very much helpful. But these types of organizations must be taken note of very carefully.