Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar speaks on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address


Madam, I stand on behalf of the All India Trinamool Congress to speak on the Motion of Thanks in gratitude towards the Hon’ble Rashtrapati ji for addressing a joint session of the Houses.

Madam, I am bemused at his self-contradictions. Whereas I agree to his statement on line number 12 of the printed speech that political democracy cannot survive without social and economic democracy, and I agree again with his last sentence when he stresses on equality and fraternity. But what I am confused about, along with many of my countrymen, my brothers and sisters, is whether the contradiction is in the rule of his government today, in the democracy at the personal level, at the social level, and at the economic and micro-economic levels that exist in today’s India. Doesn’t our Constitution grant each of us freedom of speech, and social, economic and political justice, gives us freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, equality of status and opportunity, of fraternity, assuring us dignity of the individual?

But it is challenged in his rule today. The President, in his speech, invokes Swami Vivekananda often. ‘Bohuroope shommukhe tomar chari katha khunjiche ishwar/ Jeebe prem kore jeijon sheijon shebiche ishwar’. Why are you searching for god in the temples, in the openly armed processions or in the rituals? God is in humanity, god is within you, god is in the human being in front of you. So isn’t it contradictory when Swamiji is quoted but not followed?

Naren, as was he was to be called when he was young, at the age of five or six, he pulled the hukkah meant for Muslims in his house to see whether that would make him lose his ‘dharma’ or religion or jaat. At the end he concluded, that, ‘dharma’ or caste is not such a vanity that would be lost so easily. Ramakrishna Paramhansa Deb is specifically quoted to have said that you practice religion in temples and mosques alike; and he found no difference in reaching God.

Today’s India is different.
Today’s India is difficult.
Today’s India is contradictory.
Today’s India is shortsighted.
Today’s India is myopic.
Today’s India is intolerant.

Honourable Rashtrapatiji has asserted his commitment to weaker sections. But let us define weakness. Who is weak? What is weakness? Whether the weakness is physical, whether the weakness is mental, whether the weakness is social, religious, demographic or ethnic. Which weakness is he talking about in today’s India? The weak have become more vulnerable.

Children are to be protected as they are not yet strong enough, they have not grown up. But everyday children are being kidnapped, sexually harassed, abused, tormented and most important is that their budgetary allocation has been slashed as per the mid-day meal proposals.

Women are our pride and physically less strong. So we can say that they are the weaker sex, as we used to say so. But today, as honourable ministers have been saying that as BSF jawans, they have shown formations during the Republic Day parade, they have flown fighters, so they are not weak anymore. But, everyday they are being raped. Acid is thrown at them. They are molested. But there is no concern as it is shown that only Rs 1 crore has been increased in the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme. Whereas, in our State, our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has empowered 45 lakh girl children through the Kanyashree scheme.

The Adivasis are not getting their dues; their right over their land, their jungles, their water bodies are being snatched and their language is not being given recognition as per the schedule.

And most importantly minorities are trembling in trepidation. Madam, if you don’t believe me ask the families of Pehlu Khan and Mohammad Akhlaq.

Where is dharma today, where is God? He is here in my heart. Where is God, where is dharma? He is here in my mind, in my brain, in my soul, in my thought – that is Hinduism. To take everybody along as we go forward, not maime, not kill, not hurt, abuse as is happening in today’s India.

About economic growth. Equality is not there. If it were there then the large defaulters would not have been let scott-free and the poor depositors dealt with punitive actions for not having minimum balance in their bank accounts; it is not dharma.

The farmers and fishermen are suffering; there is farmer suicide everyday in the country. 12000 farmers have committed suicide, though in our state of Bengal, the tax for the agricultural land has been done away with. The one time deposit money to take electric connection for irrigation in the agricultural land has been done away with. But what about Bundelkhand? What about Vidarbha? What about States like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand? Minimum Support Price is not in support of the farming community. The farmers are committing suicide – four out of every hundred farmers are committing suicide everyday.

The fishermen are not getting the benefit of what the scientists are doing. The scientists are doing good job in the country. They had forecasted the Cyclone Okhi that had occurred very recently, but, when they could forecast the whole path, the information that it was going to hit these fishermen out in the sea, could not be reached. We have lost many seamen, many fishermen.

We have to look after the farmers, we have to look after the fishermen, the OBCs, the minorities.

In the recent Budget, Bengal’s Railway projects have been slashed, only two lines have been doubled but extension of metro, even in my constituency Barasat, they have been overlooked it looks like, vindictive political agenda is high. The use of central agencies also very high.

And about the security Madam, hamare desh ka 22000 km se bhi jyada international borders hain, koi friendly country, koi not so friendly country, aur jo wahan jawan pehre mein rehte hain, kisi ke pati hain, kisi ke pita, lekin wo sabhi hamare santan hain, and the Government is not looking after them well enough.

The question is, at Rs 90 per day… ek hatta katta jawan jo wahan baithe rehte hain, hamare suraksha ke liye, chain ke liye, jab hum baithe hain gharon mein, jhel lete hain goli hamare liye. Unite liye sirf 90 rupees per day for their ration is not enough. Who is thinking about this? The medical facility for them is not enough, so who is looking after them? This government is not looking after them.

India today is wild with the delirium of hatred, which is contradictory to the rosy picture propagated. We must try to be more tolerant. It is time to ask have we lost our dharma, Madam?

Thank You.


Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar asks a Supplementary Question on import of onions

Wholesale price inflation rose to 3.93 per cent last month, mostly due to rise in onion and tomato prices, among other vegetables, with a rise up to 59.8 per cent. But onion was the highest at 178.19 per cent price rise.

Hon Madam, the Minister has said that he cannot control the prices and also restricted export of onions. My question is whether onion is being imported or brought from outside. What quantity of onions is being bought at what price and from which country?

Thank you.

Trinamool Congress’ Lok Sabha MPs complete three years in the 16th Lok Sabha

June 5 was the third anniversary of the All India Trinamool Congress’ Members of Parliament (MP) taking oath for the 16th Lok Sabha. It has been three eventful years (since June 5, 2014) for the party in Parliament. Speeches by the party’s MPs have had a major impact on national politics. The strategies adopted, and debates participated in, in Parliament, by the MPs have left a lasting impression on parliamentary politics in this largest democracy in the world.

Now Trinamool Congress is the fourth largest party in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

Here are a few of the important speeches that Trinamool Congress MPs have given over the last three years:



August 14, 2014: Sugata Bose on the need for a mechanism to tackle the rising incidents of communal violence in the country

May 5, 2015: Kalyan Banerjee on the GST Bill

May 12, 2015: Sudip Bandyopadhyay on The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation & Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 (Land Bill)

February 24, 2016: Sugata Bose on the prevalent situation in universities in the country

March 8, 2016: Satabdi Roy on International Women’s Day

February 7, 2017: Saugata Roy speaks on The Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill, 2017

March 9, 2017: Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar on The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016

April 11, 2017: Ratna De Nag on The HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017



November 25, 2014: Debabrata Bandyopadhyay on The Labour Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2014

August 13, 2014: Derek O’Brien on the working of the Ministry of Women and Child Development

May 6, 2015: Sukhendu Sekhar Roy on The Constitution (One Hundred and Nineteenth Amendment) Bill, 2013 (Land Boundary Agreement)

November 24, 2016: Derek O’Brien on demonetisation

April 5, 2017: Derek O’Brien on the GST Bill


Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar speaks on Demand for Grants for the Ministry of Home Affairs


I stand here on behalf of All India Trinamool Congress in support for the Demand for Grants for the Home Ministry. But it saddens me that Hon’ble Finance Minister is not here to consider that. Is this not an important subject? In the Budget speech, on page 36, he has given a list of important ministries and Home Ministry is not listed among those. It is saddening that the government does not consider that Home Ministry is important.

I think that internal security is one of the most important issues by which we live safely in this country. The Home Ministry takes care of the internal security and we have the brave jawans who are protecting us. Even before starting I want to pay respect to all jawans who have lost their lives to protect us over the last few years.

I would also like to congratulate this government for selecting a lady as the director general of SSB. I think this is a first time in history a lady is commanding the SSB. I congratulate the Minister. I also would like to request him that there was a decision and he promised to have about 33% reservation for women in the forces. But as of today we have about 6% and these girls are working very hard to protecting us. They are deployed in the international borders; they are maintaining law and order.

This House has very rightly passed the maternity Benefit Bill. I would request the Hon’ble Minister to consider giving the women in the forces a posting close to their homes for two years after they give birth to a child so that they can take of the little future citizens.

I would also like to congratulate this government and Hon. Minister for increase in the scholarship of the children of the jawans and raising the amount of money and the number of children to be included – both boys and girls.

After all the congratulations, let us come to the sour points. Our country has a very long international border. The land border is more than 15,106.7 km and the coastline is 7,516.6 kilometers. We share the borders with eight different countries out of which some are friendly countries; we also have non-friendly neighbouring countries. But the fencing is not complete.

The forces that guard us, guard our motherland, guard our very favourite Bharat Mata, are the Assam Rifles, BSF, CISF, CRPF, SSB, ITBP whose authorised strength has been 9,67,816 but as of today vacancies of 73,464 jawans are lying vacant. I would request, when you are filling them up, honourable Sir, please give cognizance to the girls also who are doing very well. The ladies are doing very well, we’ve been to the borders and we’ve seen how they work hard.

Today we have the foreign terrorist groups, we have the threat of ISIS, we have cyber crime but the budget allocation – right from grant number 46 to 47,48,49 up to 53 – has been reduced. The percentage increase over 2016-17, as far as the grant number 46 is concerned, is minus 48.6 percent. For grant number 48 – for police budget – it is minus 3.65% and overall it is minus 5.93%. Instead of increasing the budget, the budget has gone down.

If we look at the expenditure, then for grant number 46, we have spent least amount in the year 2016-17. Over the last three fiscals, 80 percent funds have only been spent. I wonder how? On one hand when we inquired why the jawans don’t have the mine-protective vehicles in the left wing extremism areas, we were told there is no money to buy those vehicles. But here we see that the money is not being spent. So there surely seems to be a gap between expenditure and the requirement and the allotment. This is a matter of serious concern.

As far as police grant is concerned, if we consider the Budget Estimate, the Revised Estimate and Expenditure, even that is the lowest in the last three fiscals and the whole amount has not been spent. This year for machine and equipment only 1.7% of the whole has been given and for arms and ammunition 1.46% has been given. We think that this has to be increased because when our poor jawans are facing the terrorists they have to be equipped to the T. They have to be more equipped than the terrorists to take them on and protect our motherland. I don’t understand why the allotment has been slashed as far as the cybercrime registry, the crime and criminal tracking system and the left wing terrorism heads.

I would also like to draw the attention of the Hon. Minister here that the condition of women in this country, the safety and security of the women in the country is still at stake. It was only three days ago, on the day of Holi, a young mother was gangraped and to save her life she had to jump from the first floor of a building here in the city of Delhi. So let us imagine the plight of women all over the country, specially in rural areas. She lay on the streets without her clothes for several minutes before an auto-rickshaw wala come and took her to the police station.

We are sometimes talking about a mobile app for women which will come on the smartphones. My question to you, Sir, through Honorable Chair, is how many of our rural women, how many of the agricultural worker women, how many of labourer women have smartphones? Only 27% of this country uses smart phones. So if the app is on a smartphone, no girl while being tortured can dial that app to get the police.

You have to think of some better way by which we can protect our women. The Nirbhaya Fund was not spent and when the Nirbhaya incident had taken place it had been decided that one or two constables will remain in all the buses in the evening. I don’t know whether those constables are still there. The problem remains because we are running short of staff. Like I said, about 73,000 jawans and constables are required for proper functioning but they have not been appointed.

I would also like to draw the attention to the August House, through you Sir, that between July, 2016 and January, 2017, the number of law and order incidents that shook up Jammu & Kashmir was 2392; number of civilians killed was 73 and the number of forces killed was 2.

In the North Eastern region we experienced 484 incidents in which 87 extremists were killed, 17 forces were killed and 48 civilians were killed. It looks like a war has been waged around our borders.

Among the forces, we have an elite force known as the National Security Guard. There are four regional hubs – Kolkata, Chennai Mumbai and Hyderabad. They are doing good. I know about the Kolkata setup because it is located close to the airport. I have been writing and it has been all futile. The hub is just a five minutes drive from the airport but the area is congested. So, I have given one year’s MPLAD fund so that they can build a subway which people can use so that the road is kept empty for the NSG jawans and the 160 battalions of BSF, to reach the airport when the requirement comes.

Through you I would like to request the Hon. Minister if a flyover can be built for them so that they can reach the main road which is about 3 km away from their hub; from there the airport is around 2 km away. God forbid if anything happens in the eastern region of the country they will be able to move very fast. BSF and NSG hubs are located just opposite one another on Badu Road.

I would also like to draw the attention of this August House, through you Sir, that India is, a very large country with a very long international border with a long coastline. It is because of the unguarded coast that we had the misfortune to see the day our enemies took a boat and came up to Maharashtra and shot people dead.

Now, I understand that in the Runn of Kucch in Gujarat there is always water making it difficult to have the fence. I understand that in Sunderbans, we have the tidal waves making it difficult to maintain the fence. But, in spite of the difficulties, we will have to think of something innovative.

For the last seven eight years that I have been talking about this and I have been hearing that we are getting technical support from international friends to have laser, fences, thermal detectors and night vision gadgets. But, till date, that is not there and every night hundreds of infiltrators coming through these open porous borders.

The BSF has to be more careful but they are also standing for hours together, Sir, guarding the borders. So, if we can have more number of jawans, then the shift can be of lesser hours and they can be more alert.

The fencing is not complete anywhere, Sir. As far as Bengal is concerned, see we have about 2,828 km of fencing out of sanctioned 3,326. Similarly, we have this kind of border gaps in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab area.

Sir, in the coastal areas we have these floating BOPs. But I have been time and again requesting that these border outposts which are floating – the speedboats have been given, no doubt, but we don’t have the technology. There are no drivers who can drive the speedboats. So, they are lying. We need technical support for the maintenance of those boats; we need technical support for their total functioning, which is not happening. This should be considered and some funds should be given for this.

The other thing is that the State police is demanding watchtowers. Up to a certain distance, it is the duty of the BSF, and after that it is the responsibility of the State police. Unless we have watchtowers we would not be able to watch the coastal areas when people are coming in at night, and also when animals are being crossed over during the day or night. So money should be sanctioned for building watchtowers, and roads too.

There is so much to say because of the concerns of internal securities, Sir. The defence personnel who are located at high altitudes, beyond 15,000 feet, are not getting enough supplies, Sir. They are our children, they are looking after us. We understand it is very difficult to grow vegetables there, but we are trying, of course; but they are dying either of snowstorms or avalanches. So we have to take care of them in a better way so that they can look after us better.

I would like to draw your august attention to the fact that funds under many heads were left unspent – for example, the funds for the Registrar General of India are fully unspent, then under the heads of town mapping and modernisation of data dissemination, and the filling up of vacant posts. We also need to give special attention to cyber crime and NATGRID. We would be grateful if you could consider these.

Thank you, Sir.



Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar speaks on Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016


Thank you, Chairman Sir. I stand here on behalf of All India Trinamool Congress and I would like to congratulate the Hon’ble Labour Minister for having given such a wonderful thought for ladies. Kal hi hum Antarjatik Mahila Divas manaye hain aur aaj hum charcha kar rahe hain mahila ke liye, aadhi abadi ke liye. Kehte hain ‘Der aaye, durast aaye’. After 55 years, we are bringing the amendment. But after all we are bringing in the amendment, that is one thing to rejoice and I congratulate you, Sir. We support this Bill.

But as I will slowly elaborate, I completely support Supriya Sule ji, that we need other ministries on board, and I am happy that our Hon’ble Minister for Women and Child Welfare is here. We should have a joint supervisory body, which should have members from, along with the Labour Ministry, the Women and Child Ministry and the Health Ministry, because this subject entails all of them – this is not something only to be dealt with by the Labour Ministry alone.

Childbirth is such a beautiful experience and all of us women have gone through the experience. At the moment, whatever the amendments that have been brought, there has been definitely much improvement on what we had – 26 weeks is good enough because the World Health Organisation gives us a suggestion for 24 weeks of breastfeeding which enhances the resistance of the child towards respiratory tract diseases and diarrhoeal diseases, and therefore brings down the mortality thereof.

We have the example of the Bengal Government, the second time elected government led by the CM Mamata Banerjee. she started this thing of ‘Mother & Child Hub’ in which from the last trimester, the pregnant women are been brought and have been kept there. They have been given nutritious diet and specialised doctors are looking after them. So, the reports of the stories that we read in the past – that while reaching the hospital the women has given birth on the road or died on the road – does not happen. For that we have improved statistics as far as infant mortality and maternal mortality is concerned in the State.

Also in the country we are doing well but we should do much better; we want to go and touch the Millennium Development Goal 5 which we as a country have not yet touched so we should also give our thought to this. How do we point out as to which of the women need care? If we can universalise institutional delivery then only we can get to know which of the women need more care because we cannot have same sort of leave benefits for all women.

Certain women suffer from medical diseases like hypertension; then they have pre-eclamptic toxaemia. They may have diabetes while some might have cancer, some might have APLA syndrome, polycystic ovaries, some might have other diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus, in which cases the mothers needs more care. In those cases 26 weeks is not enough. That is why I said that the Health Ministry should also be taken on board.

Today we have many more girls coming into our services. There are girls who are patrolling our borders ,we have women working in the BSF, we have women working in the SSB, we have women in the ITBP, we have women in the CISF, in the defence forces and in the CRPF. They should be given little more benefits because their life is more active than a normal woman who is at home. Right after childbirth they should not be sent to the remote areas. We must universalise antenatal care.

Hoardings, billboards and flexes must be put up in rural areas in the regional language and the vernacular so the women going to the market or on the road can read what is written there. Tetanus toxoid shots are required to prevent tetanus or antenatal check up, folic acid and RN tablets are required. So, these also should be included and monitored so that the women who are in the villages, who are in the rural areas they know exactly what to do.

In spite of this being a very nice Amendment Bill, I would like to demand and draw the attention of the Hon. Minister that universal help for all BPL family women should be brought. Unorganised sector & organised sector should be brought under the purview of this Bill; even domestic helps, agriculture workers, site workers, mine workers and the farm hands – everybody should be included because it is a pain of all ladies throughout the pregnancy and they should be taken care of.

It is of great pleasure that you have put in the issue of commissioning mothers here but they would require a little more benefit that what you have mentioned for them and also I would draw your attention to the fact these days girls are studying more, they are getting married at a later age and when they try for pregnancy then most times they are unable to conceive because of their raised age they have to take help of donors (after consultation and informed consent). These girls are doing social work by donating their eggs so they should also be given some kind of benefit.

The surrogate mother should be given some kind of benefit because she is the one who is holding the baby for so many months (when it is not done commercially it is done only through good will). I have delivered babies where the mother of the patient has delivered, where the sister-in-law of the patient has delivered. So we must also take them into cognizance when we are making this Bill.

And, as has been done in Bengal, I would also like to reiterate that we want paternity leave for the menfolk because having a child is a joint effort, it is a joint venture of the mother and the father. The Hon’ble Supreme court has also given all rights to single mothers, so single mothers should also be specially included for the benefits and mentions.

Thank you, Sir.


Bengal Govt’s ‘Jal Dhoro Jal Bhoro’ scheme presented in Germany seminar

Trinamool Congress MP Dr Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar presented the Bengal Government’s project ‘Jal Dhoro Jal Bhoro’ (preserve water reserve water) in a recent seminar at Germany. The project – a brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee – has already gained much appreciation nationally.

During her speech at the seminar, Ghosh Dastidar described how Bengal Government’s achievement in conserving nature and proper reservation of water. The international seminar which was taken place at the German Parliament was based on global warming and water. Dr Ghosh Dastidar explained Jal dhoro Jal bhoro in front of the parliamentarians and the dignified guests who were also invited there.

The Trinamool MP earlier had described the State-made project in a parliamentary session at Delhi, which received much appreciation among the MPs. Dr Ghosh Dastidar, who is the Member of Standing Committee of Ministry of Home Affairs,  had flown to Germany and gave her speech on November 6, at the international seminar on global warming and water in Germany.

The initiative of Jal Dharo Jal Bharo was taken up under the initiative of Mamata Banerjee in 2011, soon after she became the Chief Minister of the State. She declared the project in Writers Buildings – under which a slew of activities were listed.

The project includes restructuring the shore of water bodies – around 50,000 ponds for micro irrigation purpose. In less than four years 1,20,000 ponds have been dug in the State.

The rain water harvesting project is now also providing livelihood through fisheries developed in these ponds. The target for 2014-2015, of over 57,000 hectares of land under minor irrigation sector has been achieved. The target for 2015-2016 was 62,000 hectares. The work is going on. “This will give significant boost to agricultural productivity in the State”, the Chief Minister had said about this project.


সরকারের “জল ধরো জল ভরো” প্রকল্প এবার জার্মানি সেমিনারে উপস্থাপিত হল

মাননীয়া মুখ্যমন্ত্রীর পরিকল্পিত “জল ধরো জল ভরো” প্রকল্প যা ইতিমধ্যেই সারা দেশে খুব প্রশংসা পেয়েছে, সেই প্রকল্পটি এবার মাননীয়া সাংসদ কাকলি ঘোষ দস্তিদারের মাধ্যমে জার্মানিতে অনুষ্ঠিত এক সভায় বিশ্বের সামনে উন্মোচিত হল।

৬ই নভেম্বর জার্মান পার্লামেন্টে অনুষ্ঠিত এই সভায় বক্তব্য রাখতে গিয়ে মাননীয়া সাংসদ বর্ণনা করেন কিভাবে রাজ্য সরকার প্রকৃতির খেয়াল রাখে ও সঙ্গে সঙ্গে জলের সংরক্ষন করেন।

এই সভার বিষয় ছিল গ্লোবাল ওয়ার্মিং ও জল। ওখানে উপস্থিত সকল জনতার সামনে মাননীয়া সাংসদ রাজ্যের “জল ধরো জল ভরো” প্রকল্পের বর্ণনা দেন। এর আগে তিনি সংসদে এই প্রকল্পের কথা বর্ণনা করেন ও ভূয়সী প্রসংশিত হন।

২০১১ সালে মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় মুখ্যমন্ত্রী হওয়ার পরই রাইটার্স বিল্ডিংয়ে তিনি এই প্রকল্পের কথা ঘোষণা করেন ও সঙ্গে প্রয়োজনীয় একগুচ্ছ কাজের কথা নথিভুক্ত করা হয়। এই কাজের মধ্যে ছিল ৫০০০০ পুকুরের পুনর্নির্মাণ করা (সেচের কাজের জন্য) মাত্র চার বছরে আরো নতুন ১২০,০০০ পুকুর খনন করা হয়েছে।

বৃষ্টির জল ধরে তা দিয়ে চাষের কাজের যে পদ্ধতি, তার ফলে মাছ চাষও উপকৃত হচ্ছে। ২০১৪-১৫ সালের জন্য স্থির করা লক্ষ্যমাত্রা ৫৭,০০০ হেক্টর জমিকে সেচের কাজের জমির অন্তর্ভুক্ত করার লক্ষ্য ভালোভাবেই সম্পন্ন হয়েছে। ২০১৫-১৬ সালের স্থির করা ৬২,০০০ হেক্টর জমিকে এই আওতায় আনার কাজ জোরকদমে চলছে।

মুখ্যমন্ত্রীর কথায়, “এই উদ্যোগ রাজ্যের ফসল উত্পাদনের ক্ষেত্রে এক নতুন মেকাট্রা এনে দেবে।”


Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar speaks during a short duration discussion on sustainable development goals

Thank you Hon’ble Sir for giving me the opportunity to speak on this very important topic that is plaguing the world today. I stand here as a member of All India Trinamool Congress. We are actually standing at crossroads today whether to be a developing nation or not.

Certain nations have been developing at a faster pace than ours over the last centuries and they have also been major contributors towards the green gas emission. Their carbon footprint has also been much more than ours. When we take up the task of development, load of sanctions and interjections are being placed before us and we as a developing nation are facing this problem now.

So as my Hon’ble Chief Minister Smt Mamata Banerjee has rightly pointed out that with perspective to India the NGT has to be prudent in their restriction towards our development projects and refrain from overzealous actions.

I take this opportune moment to extend gratitude to the leaders of 193 countries who during the General Assembly Session of the United Nations in September, 2015 got together and took serious cognizance of this burning issue to strike a balance between growth and development of the nations and also to maintain nature environment to protect our planet.

Five things are involved in this total effort – people, planet, peace, prosperity and partnership between nations. The sustainable development goals were worked upon on the millennium development goals, eight of them were there, and we have done quite well.

And depending on that we have worked upon the SDGs which also involves the environment. MDGs did not take into cognizance the environmental factor but here we want to maintain the environment like all of us who are born from one mother, we have only one world. And to leave this world for our posterity we must protect the world.

Even if we are trying to develop in different fields we have to take care of our planet, of our nature, of our water bodies, and the SDGs have taken into consideration. This is the first time that all the nations first got together, discussed and then formulated the seventeen goals and 169 targets, that we are going to undertake over the next 14 years up to 2030 to meet our needs.

It is already coming to effect from first of January this year. And unlike many previous decisions the world together in consultation has drawn this up. It was not due to any regional decision, It was not due to any national decision, it was rather a quantitative decision dealing not only with human or the planet separately. Ecological sustainability was seen as an element of economic development.

The problems were taken to be universal and interconnected because the air quality getting disturbed over my country will go and affect another country. But in doing so we also have to take into consideration that we are growing, we are developing and we must be given more opportunity. The first six goals for MBG which were for poverty allegation, has been repeated here also. We the developing world need industrialization but we have to be protective towards mother earth.

On behalf of the people we serve we have adopted a historic decision on a comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centric set of universal and transformative goals. We are committed in achieving sustainable development in these three dimensions of economics social and environmental development to build upon the MDGs. But most important would be policy making.

When we are discussing it here today, budget allocation should be made towards meeting these 17 goals and 169 targets and we have to strike a balance. The developed world has been a major contributor towards polluting our water bodies, our air quality, depleting our forest, starting the practice of newer food techniques and we have followed suit and have forgotten our traditional foods.

Yesterday Hon’ble speaker had organized a meeting regarding SDGs, and there an honorable member was pointing out the present situation in which the current generation does not even recognize traditional foods like jawar and bajra for nutrition; we are dependent on packed foods. We are preparing them, packing and then marketing them; this involves artificial methods and energy consumption which is not good for the planet, we have to go back to our natural resources.

Six of the 17 goals here involves disaster risk reduction, recognizing the reduction of vulnerability of exposing the poor to diseases is important for sustainable poverty reduction. Out of the 17, the first one is poverty eradication. Poverty and environment are closely relates, especially when people depend for the primary source of livelihood on the environment.

Restoring natural systems and improving natural resource management practices at the grassroots level are essential to the strategy to eliminate poverty. Diversion of common and marginal lands to a more economically viable so to say useful purposes deprives the poor off a resource base which has traditionally met many of their sustenance needs, like the right of the forest should be with the people who live in the forest since ages are known. We should give them the power to live in the forest, to use the forest as their own to the adivasis and tribals who have been living there instead of cutting the trees and giving away the wealth of the forest, giving away the mines and minerals of the forests to multinationals.

Market factors also lead to the elimination of the crops that have traditionally been available to the diet of the poor. Here I would like to point out that these days baby food and prepared food is taking a serious toll on the health of the children. If the babies are breastfed, they are saved, they are protected from reproductory tract diseases, they are protected from diarrheal diseases. It is known that according to a very important study in the medical journal of Lancet breastfeeding can save 820000 lives annually preventing 13% of deaths of children under 5. Breastfeeding could reduce one third of the respiratory diseases, for India it could reduce 156000 child deaths each year. It would reduce maternal deaths of cancer, breastfeeding forms a natural contraceptive towards maintaining family size and it would also help prevent the lady from getting breast cancer or that of the reproductive tract; 4300 crores improved as far as the IQ of the child is concerned for a child who is breastfed. Not only that, the proprietary preparations that are marketed by different companies at the moment, they sell milk formulas at the moment which emit 111226 tonnes of greenhouse gasses. So many countries are encouraging mothers towards breastfeeding.

The United Nations is laying stress on infant and young children’s feed. There are reports that many children who have feed fed on formula milk remain stunted in growth, in chronic hunger and their IQ is not optimally developed. Not only that, due to greenhouse emissions during preparation, it generates carbon footprints. The industrially manufactured milk formula adds greenhouse gases at every step of production, transport and use, and it gives rise to wastage also.

One of the sustainable development goals, the second one, is regarding the food that developed nations throw away; but the under-developed nations go hungry. There are many people in the under-developed nations, to be specific, one in every nine children, who go to bed hungry. But every day, the food wasted in developed nations is 4,896 crore kilograms. These food materials, which are used as landfills, gives rise to methane gas, which again causes global warming. And this food wastage is at its highest in the United States where, about 80% of the people who are throwing away the food say that they feel guilty while throwing the food on their plates but that they cannot help it.

I think, while we are discussing the SDGs, we are here to draw policies, how we can work towards attaining the SDGs. The policy should be to not to throw away food. We should actually make it a stylish slogan in the society. There should be a slogan, ‘Grow more food, don’t throw food.’

Each one of us should try to grow a little bit of what we eat. I can proudly say that I don’t buy vegetables for my family, I grow it myself. Everybody might not be having land to grow enough for the whole family but every balcony, every rooftop can house earthenware pots where not only you grow your vegetables in little amounts but where you can actually make manure or compost from everyday household waste like vegetable peels and wasted food matter. It can be just turned into compost and used as manure. So the slogan should be ‘Grow food, don’t throw food.’

And not only for India – it should be globally accepted; everyone must grow a little bit to contribute to the nation, to the international community, to the planet. And we have to take into consideration that a major thrust at the policy level is necessary to ensure equity and justice for us.

Then the next SDG is education. I am proud to say that my leader, Mamata Banerjee, the Honourable Chief Minister of West Bengal, started Kanyashree in which she has allotted Rs 1,500 crore, not a paltry Rs 100 crore, and 32 lakh girl children are being empowered. And she is giving them non-polluting vehicles in the form of cycles to paddle to school, because this paddling of cycles is not only allowing the girl to go safely to the school and come back, but the very effort of paddling the cycle is creating a proper cardiac output by which she will never get hypertension, she will never get diabetic, she will never have a heart attack, when she grows up. So this is the foresight of my leader, Mamata Banerjee. I think we should all accept and adopt these methods to create a sustainable development because a cycle is a non-polluting vehicle.

With perspective to India, 15% of homes are lit by kerosene. As far as industry is concerned, we are using fossil fuel. As far as production of electricity is concerned, we are using fossil fuel. And even for the lighting up of our homes, we are using kerosene. It is a polluting agent. It is disturbing the atmosphere. So we have to shift towards renewable and clean energy. But my personal experience is, I have allocated a lot of money from the Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund towards street lighting through solar power, but after two to three years there is no after-sales service. There is nobody to take care of the batteries. So once they stop working, there is no way by which we can take them forward.

The present Government has started the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Yojana in which vocational training is being given to young children, young dropouts. I would request the Government to train these young students to maintain the sources of renewable energy, the equipments of renewable energy and non-polluting equipments, so that they become a good workforce and maintain these renewable energy equipments for use for a very long time.  

With the increase in purchasing power, wasteful consumption linked to market-driven consumerism is stressing the resource base of developing countries. So that we should go back to a traditional way of living in the fashion of our father of the nation’s teachings, for simple living.

We have to realize whether this is technology push or market pull that the nations today are responding to, the new generation is responding to. If it is only the technology push then dialogue through policy making would have to be started with the multinational who are forcing our youth to follow paths which are forcing them to buy equipment which are polluting.

Out of these different SDG goals agriculture is very important because it involves land use and water use. We should make available water for agriculture even to the remotest villages. We should start practicing multi-crop culture and have a proper land use policy. And depletion of land should be taken care of by scientists who can ensure nitrogen fixation by alternating crops with leguminous crops; this will not only will bring down the price of Dal as it is now but the legume will also stabilize the nitrogen of the soil.

The biomass which will continue for a long time to be a major source of fuel energy especially for rural poor, you are not actually being able to help them. Biomass will form their major source. But there are two kinds of biomass usage for combustion. The cow dung cake is polluting and it is also increasing in price at the moment. But the Gobar Gas is not; that should be made universally available to the rural poor.

The significance of the diversity in nature must be realized, must be appreciated and taught in schools because we need to protect and preserve our Earth. There is a strong relationship between health and the state of environment and employment. Because, the workers of asbestos, silicon and mines get silicosis. They are dying of lung diseases. So we have to give them a proper healthy atmosphere to work and earn living.

The overseas assistance is declining and the commitments industrialized countries gave in the Earth Summit a decade ago are mostly unmade. We have to turn our attention towards that. Environmental and social clauses which have been made implicitly or explicitly part of international agreement, must not be used selectively to erect trade barriers against us. We have to take this up at international forum. Mechanism must be put in place to make latest technology available to developing countries at reasonable cost. And mainstream education should include science and children should be taught basic science so that they know about the future. If they do not preserve this earth they have no home.


Thank you, Sir.


Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar speaks on the need to preserve the cultural heritage of Chandraketugarh

Thank you Hon’ble Madam for giving this opportunity to raise a very important issue concerning my constituency.

Hon’ble Madam, heritage is our pride, heritage is our sentiment. I bring to your notice and this august House about Maharaja Chandraketu who is supposed to have ruled more than 2000 years ago in a place called Chandraketugarh in Berachanpa which is within my constituency of Deganga.

The pious Ganges River is supposed to have flown there and that’s why the place is known as Deganga. Maritime trade was carried out with Europe 2000 years ago. Seals, terracotta, figurines recovered there are getting being lost.

Our Hon’ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had formed the Heritage Commission and excavation had started under the Archaeological Survey of India. We were expecting it to become a United Nations Heritage site but the excavation has stopped.

I draw your notice Madam, and through you the Hon’ble Minister of Culture, so that this place of heritage should  find its place of prominence within our country.

Thank you.

Trinamool dominates Parliament on Day 2 of Monsoon Session

Trinamool dominated the Parliamentary proceedings on the second day of Monsoon Session in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Playing a responsible Opposition, Trinamool MPs spoke on matters of national importance and took part in debates on important Bills.

The day started with the leader of the party in Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien raising the issue of the site of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s resting place lying in utter neglect and slow progress of the work of building a memorial for the late President of India.

In Lok Sabha, leader of the party Sudip Bandyopadhyay demanded answers from the government on low conviction rate in case of cyber crimes. During Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, Nadimul Haque asked the government about its plans to tackle the menace of spitting.

During a Calling Attention Motion in the Upper House of the Parliament, MP Ahmed Hassan Imran grilled the government on its flood management programmes and demanded that the compensation criteria for States be revisited.

Vivek Gupta participated on behalf of the party in a discussion on the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 in Rajya Sabha while Dr Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Dr Ratna De Nag participated in discussions on The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and The Dentists (Amendment) Bill, 2016 respectively in Lok Sabha.


Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar speaks during the Discussion on the Railway Budget 2016

Mananiya Sabhapati Ji, Main meri party Sarva Bharatiya Trinamool Congress ki oar se abhar vyakt karti hu ki aap ne mujhe mauka diya Rail Mantri ki pesh kiya hua jo Budget hain unn per charcha karne ke liye.

Mananiya Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu ji halhi mein Kolkata aaye they aur unhone mujhe behen bol ke pukara. Mere mann mein toh laddu futne lagi ki abhi Budget mein mujhe kuch milne wale hain. Lekin main hairan ho gayi ki Budget mein na mere kshetra Barasat aur Udayrajpur station ke liye kuch tha, na mere rajya ke liye kuch tha aur na sare uttar purba anchal, jo ‘seven sisters’ hain, pichre huye rajyo hain, ke liye kuch tha. Main abhi unko yeh bolna chahti hu ki yeh jo States hain North-East mein, pichra hua States hain, salo sal se yeh States vanchit hain aur aap jante ho ki inke mang koi nehi sunta.

Lekin Paschim Bangal ka sawal par main baad me aayungi. Yeh North-East mein jo States, hain jab hamare mukhyamantri mananiya Mamata Banerjee Rail Mantri thi, tab unhone inn rajyo ke liye bahut kuch sanction kar ke bahut kuch kohshish ki thi.

I will quote, “Madam, I propose to draw up a masterplan for the development of railway infrastructure in the North-East in consultation with the North-East Development Council and the State authorities concerned. In the North-East, 10 projects have been declared as national projects and adequate funds have been provided. The progress of some of the projects is getting affected by the adverse law and order situation. However, the Lumding-Silchar gauge conversion project has been given special priority for expeditious completion. The work on the Byrnihat- Shillong route has also been included in this Budget as a national project for providing rail connectivity to the capital of Meghalaya. And also the tea-growing region of Barak Valley between Durlavchera and Cheragi has been sanctioned this time.”

She had also mentioned in her Budget, and I quote, “Madam, the government is giving priority in providing rail connections with the neighbouring countries. Surveys for five new lines have been conducted for rail connectivity with Nepal. Out of these lines, it is proposed to take up new lines from Jogbani to Biratnagar,” etc.

So out of these that she had started, we really don’t find much allotment given to them now, and I would like to refer to a published document of the Ministry itself. Misaal ki khatir do char States ki naam leti hu.

Andhra Pradesh has a total track length of 7,033 km, West Bengal, of 10,466 km, Maharashtra, of 9,208 km. Compare this with the north-eastern states: Arunachal Pradesh has a total track length of 23 km only. Manipur, of 3 km, Meghalaya, of 13 km, Mizoram, of 5 km, Nagaland, of 24 km and Tripura, of 193 km. Isn’t it so sad? This in a country which is governed everywhere by the same rules and laws; and we have peoples’ representation here. The people of these States are being deprived. This is not my data, this is published data, and hardly any allotment has been given to these States.

And for the last seven years, I have been a member of this Standing Committee and through it, from the reports published and the discussions, we get to know that the Ministry of DoNER is sometimes given money from the Central government for the development of infrastructure which includes schools, hospitals, electrical substations, roads and railways. They are working through the Ministry of DoNER. And in spite of the thousands of crores (I don’t want to go through each because it will be a very lengthy process) being allotted through the Ministry of DoNER for the development of these north-eastern States, none of the work has progressed. I really tend to agree that the goodwill shown by the allotment of money or by the demand of the citizens is totally absorbed somewhere down the line. I don’t know whether it is by the bureaucracy or elsewhere. But no work is really taking place on the ground level, and the people are suffering.

So this has to be given a really serious thought when the Rail Budget is again discussed and I would request the Hon’ble Railway Minister to take into account the plight of the people of the north-eastern region.

Now about the state of affairs in West Bengal. When our Hon’ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was the Railway Minister, she had proposed certain amounts of money for some factories in West Bengal. And we from the All India Trinamool Congress party had met the Hon’ble Railway Minister one year back, on 18th march 2015, with our requirements. We had pleaded with him to let us continue the projects started so that the people can benefit and eastern India as a whole can progress. Among those projects were the Kanchrapara railway coach factory, Kharagpur workshop, Noapara workshop, Dankuni railway equipment factory and the modernisation of Liluah. But I am so sorry to say that in this Budget only Rs 1000 has been given to these projects. It looks like some kind of joke to me. Rs 1000 se kya hoga? And why are we being neglected so much?

In last year’s Budget there were 31 pages and this is 46 pages, but I really don’t understand if there is really anything extra here or whether any thought or any homework or discussion has gone behind preparing this year’s 46 pages of Budget?

Maine abhi abhi suna ki Sansad mein logon ka suraha ka kaam hota, and there have been discussions to have committees, but I don’t think I have ever been called to any committee where our requests were bided. I think there is a some kind of a communication gap within the bureaucracy.

An underpass was sanctioned when my leader Smt Mamata Banerjee was the Railway Minister. Woh kaam ruka huya tha. Main abhari hoon ke Rail Mantra ji ne unko chalu karne ka irada liya.

The work started. The Engineering department, they were very kind to start the work. Before they could proceed any further on the first day the signal on the electrical department gave a stay order and the work is stop so I think there is some kind of communication gap at that bureaucratic level. So that whatever their decision is going from here that is also not being implemented. Now this budget we are looking at it really doesn’t look like a budget to me. Because there are only few pages in the end of it. Otherwise the rest of it there is no mention about the passenger earnings, about the fate earnings, about the gross traffic resifts and the budgetary supplements etc.

So we really feel that this kind of serious thought has to be given before we can proceed further with the works that pending from the time that Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal presently who was then the Hon’ble Railway Minister. She was trying for the whole country and she had sanctioned many projects. Most of the projects are stopped. Now I don’t understand whether it is political vendetta or not but the fact of the matter is that it is not happening.

Now we had also requested the Hon’ble Minister that certain thinks be taken into account which have not being taken into account though this budget since like a shadow of vision 2020. Most of the things that my Chief Minister of West Bengal Hon’ble Mamata Banerjee she had published in the vision 2020 document.

And like what Bengal thinks today India thinks tomorrow. Most of the things of the visions 2020 document about the rest of the country has taken but except the project is in West Bengal. So it is a matter of great regret that we are being left out from the whole project like this and to quote a few, you know the double decor train was first Mamata Banerjee’s idea. She has started 9 such.

The increasing of speed of train was also started buy her and she has started the Duranta Express. But in an unprecedented move unfortunately the name of Duranta is also being changed. Which has never happened in India? Rajdhani has always remained Rajdhani. But why the name of Duranta has been changed if duffels me totally.

See there has also been regional cuisine introduced into trains by Mamata Banerjee. Dedicated freight corridor work has started during her period. The revenue earning through advertisement through airspace and land space of rail was also her idea she started putting advertisement on the walls of the local stations. The IT initiatives in ticketing were taken by her and she started computerized ticketing system. Organizational restructuring were done in 32 places. The improvement of passenger comfort she also started and I remember that she had started a lady’s waiting room along with a lady’s toilet in Barasat and when in this times Budget, we find toilet here, toilet there, toilet everywhere. It is not that I am opposing toilets, it is a good idea to keep the country clean but where on the one hand we are talking about toilets everywhere. There was one lady’s toilet in Barasat’s station in my constituency along with the lady’s waiting room, which has been taken by the officials and the lady has been thrown out and is being used as an office now. It simply baffles me why. The toilets started by Mamata Banerjee are being closed down .

In a local trends and local commuters are there but I don’t know why. The ninth point in the version 20:20 document had said about enlarging the freight basket. This is also there this time and the innovation and incubation. I think most of the points are from version 20:20 but what is significantly missing is the Izzat ticket. Jo garib hai, jo lachar hai, ussko izzat se saffar karne ke leya izzat ka ticket diya gaya tha. Bees kilometre woh pachees rupaya meh chalte tha aur ham jo sansad hai. Hamar paas aatha ham signature karke dethe the aur maheena bhar jata tha apna kam meh, school meh kehe nuakri mai, who izzat chenliya gaya hai. I seriously demand that the Izzat ticket be brought back and women particularly vendors and the working class be given this chance to travel at a very low cost. The next point that I would like to highlight here is the security of the train, the security of the passengers to maintain the security and running of trains smoothly. The MMUs have found no place in the Budget we don’t find any mention of them. Though the lot of gang men is being improved it’s a commendable step taken, but i would really like to question the that there are about 80 thousand junior engineers in the railway and all of them together ensure the safety of the trains running and they spending a lot of their youth and time towards their work to make the railways run smoothly 80 thousand of them. I would just like to draw the attention of Hon’ble Minister here that the India Gazette notification number 605 was circulated by DOPT on ninth April 2009 to improve the quality of service given by government employees. Certain department like CPWD, MES etc they have upgraded junior engineers but the Indian Railways which is the largest technical organisation having 80000 of them , they have not taken this particular Gazette notification and these junior engineers are now made to work like Group D staff. I don’t think that is satisfying for them so for the security, safety of smooth running of the trains. I think their requirements and the gazette notification should be given respect. As far as the security is concerned this is quite strange and I heard other Hon’ble members speaking about it also and Hon’ble Minister also regarding the security arrangements. The maintenance of law and order in railways and railway premises is the responsibility of the concerned state “State Police”. Whereas the security of passengers and their belongings in the running train is the responsibility of the railway protection force. Now by the RPF amendment 2003 the railway protection force is suppose to take place of this. But you know when some crime happens, the common man really does not know the jurisdiction. There was this incident in Bangalore, some one month back when a gentleman, when a young person he was run over by a truck. I think most of you have seen that item in newspaper. His lower torso was run over and he was lying still alive, the upper torso also lying somewhere, when people went to pick him up the first thing he said is that I want to donate my organs because he knew that he was going to die.

Similar thing happened in West Bengal two weeks back a lady was run over by a train. A lady was run over by a train. Her legs were lying on the other side of the line. The upper part was the other side of line and remembering that incident reading it in the media, this lady remember and she is started telling people pick me up. And I want to donate my eyes, my organs but we will not believe Sir, there is a tussle between the local GRP and the Railway protection force as to in whose jurisdiction the legs are and whose jurisdiction is the body is and who will pick her up.

So I sincerely feel these two forces must be amalgamated or some kind of decision come at by which the whole Railway safety security premises passengers, everything is taken care of by one single force. So the people are safe when they are travelling.
There are 7000 passenger trains. And in this only 3500 have guards. So we think that all passenger trains must be accompanied by guards and we should have the other point of securities unman level crossing.

The unman level crossing total number has been nearly 30000. It is 30348. When Mamata Banerjee became the railway minister she has started manning them.

So that statistics proves that in 2011 consequential death due to accidents at level crossing which were unman was 46% which is come down to 33% in 2015 just why manning few level crossing. So we demand they cannot be any unman level crossing.

People have to be engaged to man them otherwise they have to be locked an Aerobes made. The aerobes are serious essentialities which have to be looked at so that people can travel safely.

I also have been crying for level crossing at Itna Colony and my friend Satabdi Roy (famous film star) she also want a level crossing of Makwa, we have been asking for five years now but really nothing else happen.

So I would like to draw the attention of the Hon’ble Minister also to a very serious inclusion in the budget this year. The Hon’ble Minister called the cabinet decision as a landmark by which 400 stations would be redevelop through PPP.

Now going through the Budget I find station development – PPP, Cleaning of stations– PPP, Facility Management – PPP, Logistic part – PPP, Where hose – PPP. I see a large cloud looming of privatization. I don’t know whether I am true or wrong. But so many PPPs for running towards railway is not healthy for the nation that is my feeling.

Now the railway employees 14 lakhs of people are working, the gagman have been taken care, thank you very much but what about the other 14 lakhs who are working. Hon’ble Railway Minister, the then Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had provided for the parents to travel for them to take for treatment from the employees, families, children to get better education facilities but none of it is here I find. So I think this should be given a thought.

And the last two points I would like to point out that about the pilgrim circuit is concern, West Bengal has many places of pilgrimage. We have Kalighat, Trakeswar temple, Tarapith Temple. We have Furfura Sarif. All have been left out. We want these to be connected in the pilgrim service.

And about the tourist circuits nobody can think of tourism in India without Dooars because that is the place where Flora and Fauna is in the hills of Himalayas. So let it be connected Sir.

Through this I would like to congratulate regarding the lowering of the Carbon Footprint that Hon’ble Minister is thinking for putting solar panels alongside the railway tracks but I would suggest that we have solar panels on a top all running trains so that local current camp be provided within the trains but these also Hon’ble the then railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had supplied CFL and ensured that CFL be only used so this was also started.

So I think that the vision 2020 of Mamata Banerjee has been followed to certain extent. But I don’t agree completely with the other things and I would draw your attention to it.