Janatar Darbar with Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee today took live questions from people on different issues and answered them during Janatar Darbar, running simultaneously on a private Bengal news channel and Twitter.

Questions poured in on Twitter and Facebook for the West Bengal Chief Minister, some of which she answered during the programme.

The Chief Minister’s twitter handle @Mamataofficial was the second most popular twitter handle in India during the day.


Here are some excerpts of Didi’s Janatar Darbar:

Q1 by Jagdish Chandra, ETV: Are you confident of coming back to power?

I do not want to make any comments as of now. People are the judge in a democracy. Decision rests with them. Trinamool Congress has done a lot of good work in the last four years. We have served the people.

Q2: How was your experience of running a government for the last four years?

I love the term. I remember writing a book in the ’90s as the voice of people. My life is one of struggle. I have always fought for the rights of people. My struggle still continues. We are combating the financial problems. We have a huge debt burden, yet we are serving the people.

We work 42 hours a day. We are committed to work for the people. People will judge our performance. We brought about financial reforms. We have ushered in economic growth. From the UN to World Bank are honouring Bengal.

We had a shortage of manpower. We had to face many elections because of which we lost a lot of time. We had a shortage of manpower. We had to face many elections because of which we lost a lot of time.

Q3 by Sudipto Mandal from Howrah regarding remuneration for data-entry operators at gram panchayat level.

We want to help the needy people. But our hands are tied because of the debt incurred by the Left. A lion’s share of the revenue earnings is gone in paying salaries and as debt installments. I believe in ensuring roti, kapda, makaan.

Q4 by Dr Shibajipratim Basu, Professor: You are one of the major pillars of national politics. You know the imp of Opposition. Why do you think Opp in Bengal is in a disarray?

This requires a longer debate. We were also in Opposition. Being in Opposition doesn’t mean opposing for the sake of it. Being in Opposition does not entail you will only engage in smear campaign and slander. We believe in constructive criticism. I extended all help to Jyoti Basu during 1992 riots.

People’s movements cannot be led by giving speeches in TV studios. A leader must lead from the front, at grassroots. People are the Mandir, Masjid, Gurdwara in a democracy. During the 1992 riots I was on the streets. The only other person helping out the affected was Mother Teresa. I even went to Writers’ to meet the then Chief Minister Jyoti Basu and offered my help.

As long as Opposition does not let go of its negative attitude, it will be in disarray.


Q5: Bharat Rai from Darjeeling: We are facing cute water crisis in the Hills. What initiatives are you taking?

There was violence in the Hills for a long time. Now the Hills are smiling. We have started development there. We have started several water pipeline projects for the Hills in collaboration with GTA. We love the Hills. We will extend all help to the local administration for all-round development.

Q6: You have been conducting administrative review meetings all over the State…

We are the only State, who conduct such meetings at grassroots. From CM to BDO, everyone is present. We have conducted 97 such meetings. 100th meeting will take place at Bardhaman very soon. It is much easier to check the progress of different projects when you review them at grassroots. Earlier people had to come to Kolkata. Now the Secretariat travels to the districts to listen to the people.

Q7: Supriya, Kolkata: You promised to make Kolkata into London. What initiatives have you taken?

There has been a lot of change in Kolkata. We have undertaken several beautification projects. We started the Kolkata Eye project. It is stuck in Green Bench now. We believe in “Ease of Doing Business”. We have started single window clearance, e-tenders etc.

London is a theme. Kolkata is a congested, old -but gold -city. It is unplanned city. Kolkata is among the top global cities. We are transforming eBusiness.  Out 285, criterias, we have already fulfilled 200.

Q8: Sarthak Roy Chowdhury, Professor: If you were to choose a different CM of Bengal, who you’d choose?

I am no one to decide the CM. People have the right to do so. I leave the decision to them.

Q9 by Anindya Sinha from Baharampur: Is there any plan to start health insurance for primary teachers?

This is a good suggestion. I will discuss this with my Finance Minister. Our government started 731 days of child care leave for female govt employees.


Q10: You have studied in Bengal medium school yourself. But their condition is in shambles now.

There are good teachers in Bengali medium schools also. All mediums of education are good. There are talented students in Bengali medium schools. They are showing good results in exams.

Q11 by Raj Chakraborty, film director: My friends who stay abroad, when they come to Bengal, feel very happy now. However, when we are travelling on highways, there are inadequate rest rooms or toilets.

I also travel on the roads frequently and I can sympathise with Raj. We are working on setting up 200 Patha Sathi (motels) across State Highways. 100 of them are complete. Tollywood is my favourite. I love the cultural world. I hope Tollywood will be compared to Hollywood one day.

Q12 by Amit Datta, IT Sector: Places which have universities can be developed as IT hubs. Any plans?

Skill and talent in Bengal is immense. We are a talent bank. We will inaugurate IIIT at Kalyani. Another industrial park will come up at Panagarh. We are also developing IT Parks, Smart Cities. Every block will get an ITI and every sub-division will get polytechnics. We have a tie up with Raymonds for skill development. We will train 12 lakh people in next 2 years.

Q13 by June Malia, Actor: Didi you are an icon. Many people consider you a role model. Didi what do you do when you are depressed?

When depressed, I like to listen to music or adda with kids. Best way to beat depression is to hit the road.

Q14 by Gautam Sarkar, Footballer: Didi you have immense interest in sports. You have helped a lot of talent. In childhood, which was your favourite sport/game?

We organise Jangalamhal/Sunderbans Cup where nearly 30000 youths participate. We have Himal-Terai Cup also. I used to play danguli, kabaddi, kho kho when I was a child. I also tried my hand at cricket.

Q15 by Ila Ma, Nadia (folk artist): Thank you Didi for ensuring minimum monthly wage for folk artists. Do you have plans for any research centre dedicated to Lalon Fakir?

After coming to power we registered over 35000 folk artists. We honour our culture. If there is any initiative in future for a collaboration with Bangladesh for cultural ties, we will be happy.

Q16: In the last few months, police has been cracking down on anti-social elements heavily.

Bengal is an imp State. Law will take its own course. I do not see political colours will implementing. I am against syndicate raj. I do not support them. Some people blame Trinamool even if there is a dispute between neighbours.

A section of people are trying to incite violence and create chaos. I do not support extortion. Rate of crime in Bengal is much less than other States as per government data. Festivals like Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Eid, Christmas are celebrated in Bengal without any untoward incident.

We have recruited 55000 police force. We created 5 new police commissionerates, 77 new PS, 30 women’s PS. We have set up 19 human rights courts. We are running 88 fast-track courts (45 of them are for women).

Charge sheet for Salboni rape case submitted in 3 days. In Barasat, it was submitted in 8 days. Those who vandalise public property must be made to pay for the damages.

Q17 by Razdan Ali from West Midnapore: There is no boys’ hostel in Midnapore. Is there any plan to build one?

We have increased Budget for Minority Dept 5 fold. We are setting up hostels and Bhavans in every district.


Q18: Amitabha Roy, Entrepreneur: Bengal has a negative perception outside. You are trying a lot to undo it.

The negative perception of Bengal is partly due to the media. They do not show the good side of the State. Section of media has negative approach. They may have problem with me, but do not blame the State.

We organised Biswa Bangla Sammelan. We have set up a core committee with industrialists. My captains of industries give continuous suggestion to Industry Dept. I am visiting London soon. Rs 91000 Cr out of Rs 2.34 Cr investment at Biswa Bangla Sammelan is already under processing.

We have land map and land bank. We have formulated new policy for IT, Industry, MSME. Our revenue earning increased from Rs 21000 Cr to Rs 44000 Cr in 4 years. We are focussing on e-governance. Growth in our State Plan Expenditure is 300%. Growth in agriculture 547%. Growth in physical infrastructure is 300% and that of capital expenditure is 600%.

We have focused on social infrastructure development also. Kanyashree is benefiting lakhs of girls. Heavy industry is also coming to Bengal. SAIL is expanding. IISCO has been rejuvenated.

There are three hydel power projects in north Bengal.

Q19 by Anindita Roychowdhury, Psychiatrist: Any plans for the development of infrastructure at mental health institutes?

We are running Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan although the Centre has stopped allocating funds. We are giving importance to mental health. We must carry out our responsibilities with due diligence. We have formed a committee under Dr Ashokendu Sen for the development of various mental homes.

Q20 by Shovan Sundar (poet): Recitation artists must also get prominence along with musicians at cultural events.

This is a good suggestion. I will surely work on this issue.

Q21 by Joydeb Mishra, Professor: You have given lot of power to BDOs. This has borne fruit. State is progressing. Do you have plans to diversify these initiatives?

We have Administrative Calendar which sets deadline for every project. Review meets are held regularly. We are a collectively family – officials and public representatives work together for people. I have development 3-tier administrative system: BDO-DM-CM.

I am proud to say 22 lakh girls have registered under Kanyashree scheme. It received UN recognition. Our sanitation programme got international acclaim.

We are No. 1 in India. We are No. 1 in 100 Days’ Work, Skill Development as well as e-services. UNESCO is showcasing artisans from Bengal at a programme in Paris. FAO has recognised the Mati Tirtha initiative of Bengal. Jangalmahal is a model of India. We are No. 1 in MSME also.

Forty one multi super speciality hospitals are being set up in Bengal. Bengal is a role model in healthcare. We have increased beds at hospitals by 24000. Seats at medical colleges have been increased from 1400 to 2900 in just 4 years. There were only 6 SNCUs. We have set up 46 SNCUs. There were no SNSUs earlier. We set up 286 such units. We have set up 17 medical hubs and 7 health districts.

We have set up 99 fair price medicine shops and 58 Fair price diagnostic centers. Beds are free at govt hospitals. We’ve set up 58 fair price diagnostic centres where people can services like dialysis at discounted rate.

Q22 by Sandhya Suchoria: You gave focus to IT in your Manifesto. What steps are you taking to address brain drain?

This is the age of competition. We must conserve the ‘Brain Bank’ in Bengal. We must expand the IT industry. We are identifying areas where we can set up IT parks. We will give incentives to those who come to Bengal.


Q23 by Rupanjan Mukherjee, Social Worker: Is there any plan to set up any integrated sports complex at Talah Park. Is there any plan to develop infrastructure along canals in north Kolkata?

KMC, as far as I know, is working on a plan to rejuvenate the canals. We will conduct a study to assess if any sports complex in Talah Park is possible.

Q24: A section of Left Front wants to fight elections with Congress. Any comments?

It is their prerogative. I have nothing to say. Some communists misused communism that led to their fall.People have rejected the CPM.

Q25: Who will be your principal Opposition in 2016 elections?

How can I say that now? Let us see whether there are alliances.

Q26: Many ministers of BJP Govt at Centre are being questioned about propriety. Any comments?

I have ideological differences with BJP. But State Govt and Centre must work together. In 2014 elections, it was the media which highlighted a particular leader of BJP.

The Centre is trying to harm the federal structure. They are unnecessarily interfering in our business. We are not supporting land bill. We support GST because it is in our Manifesto. We do not support communalism.

Q26 by Sushmita Chowdhury, Professor: Thank you Didi for Sidhu Kanhu University.We need a law college and an engineering college  in Purulia.

There were only 30 colleges in Bengal till 2011. We set up 45 new colleges in four years. We will be happy to set up engineering or law college in Purulia in PPP mode.

Q27: What is the future of Singur?

We have a commitment. But the matter is sub-judice. We are waiting for court’s order.

Q28: A lot of cases are pending in courts. Is there a remedy?

Judiciary is pillar of democracy. It is true a lot of cases are pending. We want cases to be disposed quickly.

Q29: The jute industry is facing a crisis. Is there any solution?

Jute industry is under Centre’s jurisdiction. They have stopped procurement of jute bags. We have written to the Centre regarding jute industry. Modernisation of this sector is supreme.

We started the FRBM system. We have paid Rs 76000 Cr as installments for debt by CPM. We are committed to reclaim the glory of Bengal. We have created Biswa Bangla Brand.

Q30: What is your message for 21 July this year?

We observe 21 July to pay homage to the martyrs who lost their lives to establish democracy in Bengal.We have to spread the message of development. We have to stand beside people in this journey.

Our slogan, our motto, our ideal is Maa, Mati, Manush. I coined the term “Maa, Mati, Manush” during Singur movement. Maa (Mother) is universal. Maati (soil) is karmabhoomi, janmabhoomi. Manush (people) are supreme.

I work as a commoner. I am not VIP. I am LIP (Less Important Person). It is better to stay simple. When I became Union Minister for the first time, my mother said, “Stay as you are”. I follow her.

Any last comments…

I love the concept of Janatar Darbar. I would like to conduct these sessions every month.


Janatar Darbar with Mamata Banerjee

Trinamool Congress believes in 360 degrees of communication. From posters, banners, wall-graphiti to digital media, the party uses various means of communication to interact with people.

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee believes in direct contact with the people. She has decentralised governance by conducting nearly hundred administrative review meetings at block level.

For the first time, she is going to take direct questions from the people and answer them simultaneously on television and Twitter. Watch this space as Janata Darbar of Mamata Banerjee unfolds.