Bangla Govt distributes Rs 160 crore to Bulbul-affected farmers

The State has provided compensation to 4.66 lakh farmers, affected by cyclone Bulbul, so far. The State Government has spent Rs 160.28 crore for this, till date. The cheques have been prepared for another batch of 6.28 lakh farmers, for which the amount of compensation will be around Rs 219 crore.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had instructed the administration to expedite the process of compensation for the affected farmers belonging to the districts of North and South Parganas, East and West Midnapore, Howrah, and Hooghly. Accordingly, the Finance Department issued the required funds to the Department of Agriculture.

A sum of Rs 13,500 has been fixed as compensation per hectare of land. A minimum of Rs 1,000 (for small land) and a maximum of Rs 27,000 is being given to the affected farmers. The money is directly transferred to the bank account of the farmers.

It may be mentioned that a delegation of the central government had visited the State on December 6-7 to inspect the Bulbul-affected areas. After a meeting with them, the Chief Secretary had submitted a request for compensation to the tune of Rs 23,811 crore. However, the Centre is yet to give a penny.

Source: Bartaman

Krishak Bandhu has helped more than 66 lakh farmers

The Krishak Bandhu Scheme, a brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has provided financial benefits to over 66 lakh farmers across Bangla since its inception. State Finance Minister, Dr Amit Mitra shared this data at the inauguration of ‘Samabay Mela’ at Netaji Indoor Stadium on December 28.

The scheme has been so successful, he said, that many other States have expressed interest in replicating the scheme. Bangla is the only State to have such a comprehensive scheme for farmers.

The State Government has distributed Rs 1,031 crore among 66.2 lakh farmers since the scheme’s inception in 2018 – Rs 601 crore among 38.77 lakh farmers and share-croppers in financial year (FY) 2018-19 and Rs 430 crore among 27.43 lakh in FY 2019-20, with the latter number to increase over the last three months of the financial year.

Krishak Bandhu is a scheme meant to financially empower farmers by giving them a fixed amount per year based on their amount of landholding (a maximum of Rs 5,000 per annum – rabi and kharif season – for one acre or more, and a minimum Rs 2,000 per annum) and also to give a farmer’s family monetary aid (lump sum Rs 2 lakh) in the case of the farmer’s death within the ages of 18 to 60, both due to natural causes or unnatural causes.

Source: Millennium Post


Krishi Vigyan Kendra coming up in Birbhum

A Krishi Vigyan Kendra will come up at Murarai in Birbhum district soon. State fisheries minister announced the same after visiting the site of the upcoming centre. He was accompanied by the vice-chancellor of the West Bengal University of Animal & Fishery Sciences, and officials of the land department.

The centre will be beneficial for the local people and will boost the local economy, say experts. The minister said, “25 acres of land is required for setting up this centre. Birbhum is primarily an agricultural district. A centre like this was much needed.”

The State Government has to allot land for setting up the centre. Indian Council of Agricultural Research will bear the rest of the cost.

Birbhum best is State in implementing land laws

The State Government has selected the district of Birbhum as the best in implementing land laws, including those related to land reforms. Be it in the recording land purchase or change in ownership of ancestral property, or solving any problem related to land – Birbhum has performed very well.

The award was handed over recently during a programme at the office of the Land Directorate in Alipore, Kolkata.

The award was judged on heads like land mutation (changing of title ownership from one person to another when the property is sold or transferred), land conversion (changing of character of land from agricultural to non-agricultural, like commercial, industrial, residential and others), tax collection, patta (land deed) distribution, conversion to vested land (buying of land by the government for bringing it under the district magistrate or district collector) and solving lad-related problems.

Birbhum was adjudged as having exceeded the performance of all other districts of Bangla in financial year 2018-19. Paschim Medinipur came second and Nadia third.

In Birbhum, the number of land mutations has seen a steady increase from 1.06 lakh in 2016-17 to 2.78 lakh in 2018-19 and tax collection has increased from Rs 62 crore to Rs 176 crore over the same period. Land-related problems have been solved in a record time of two weeks at the most.

‘Good touch, bad touch’ in govt school syllabus

The State Government has decided to teach children in its schools about ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’ to help them counter sexual harassment. Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the NGO, Child Relief and You (CRY) would be part of the project too.

To start with, the project would be implemented for children between the ages of four and 12 in 300 schools spread across six districts – Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Paschim Medinipur and Malda. Other schools would be covered on a step-by-step basis. Teachers, school staff and parents too would be made aware about the issues involved through this project.

Issues to be covered for children:

To make them aware about their bodies from a young age
To teach them the ‘swimsuit rule’ – the part of the body covered by a swimsuit, both for a girl and a boy, should not be allowed to be touched by anyone except parents and doctors (in the presence of parents)
To teach them to shout for help if needed, and not to be hesitant about it, or adopt any other method to defend themselves

… and several others

Issues to be covered for guardians, teachers and school staff:

To communicate with their children through storytelling and try to know in the process whether they have been touched improperly, or harassed or assaulted in any other way
To teach children to defend themselves, including shouting for help
Being alert if anyone tries to pet a cuddle a child against their wish
Keeping watch on anyone trying to spend time alone with a child, or trying to separate them from others using the bait of gifts or other things

… and several others

Source: Ei Samay

It’s important to stand beside the people in times of distress: Didi

Today Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited Basirhat and other places to supervise the cyclone relief activities taken up by the State Government. After that, she discussed the relief and rehabilitation efforts with the concerned officials. She handed over cheques of Rs 2.40 lakh to each of the families of the dead.

Excerpts from her press interaction:

The cyclone has destroyed a large area of cultivated paddy, to the tune of 15 lakh hectares. Vegetable and mustard cultivations were also destroyed. Arrangements have to be made quickly to properly store rice. Alternative farming should be encouraged. The Agriculture Department has to become more proactive.

The mangrove forests of the Sundarbans blunted the effect of the cyclone to a large extent. More efforts must be made to conserve the mangroves. Grasses must be planted on riverbanks to prevent the soil from eroding.

Ponds and roads must be cleaned and cleared up; uprooted trees must be removed. Dams have broken down in several places; they need to be repaired as quickly as possible. Pumping machines must be deployed to drain away the water from the vast areas of farmlands that have been flooded.

Many areas are still inundated. The Education Department must ensure that students, especially examinees are able to resume school. Destroyed books, writing copies and other essential things must be replaced immediately.

The affected people must be supplied with adequate amounts of foods like dry foods, crushed rice (chire), puffed rice (muri), potatoes, pulses, biscuits, drinking water, tents, etc. each family would be supplied with 12kg rice, baby food, milk powder, etc. already six lakh water pouches have been distributed, another 50 lakh have to be kept ready.

Mobile medical camps have been opened in every area. Among other things, they must keep anti-snake venom (ASV), medicines for fever and stomach ailments ready.

Every family would be given hurricane lamps and 5 litres of kerosene for lighting them.

In North 24 Parganas, 1,200 electric poles and in South 24 Parganas, 6,000 electric poles would be installed.

Five people died in North 24 Parganas. About 6 lakh people have been affected by the cyclone and more than 5 lakh houses were destroyed. The latter would be repaired. All kinds of help will be provided to the distressed people.

The administration must make much more efforts to solve the problems of the people. More aid must be given. I request all concerned officials and others to not skimp on aid and to not do politics with regard to aid activities.

Properties and crops worth a few thousand crores of rupees have been destroyed. This is a big disaster. The administration’s taking of many pre-emptive measures prevented what could have been a bigger disaster.

It’s important to stand beside the people in times of distress. I am requesting everyone concerned to undertake relief efforts to the utmost of their capabilities so that this becomes a model for the rest of the country.

Within the next 10 days, the affected families will be supplied with six lakh kit bags.

Special food package for festive season in Bangla

Like every year, this year too the State Government is providing foodgrains, pulses and oil to people on the occasion of the festive season – Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Diwali and Chhath Puja, under the categories of Antyodyay Anna Yojana (AAY) and State Priority Households (SPHH).

The subsidised rates are:

Mustard oil: 1 litre at Rs 97
Flour: 500 gram at Rs 23 per kg (subsidised rate)
Sugar: 500 gram at Rs 32 per kg (subsidised rate)

These are being provided in two phases – October 1 to 15 (for Durga Puja) and October 22 to November 5 (for Kali Puja, Diwali and Chhath Puja).

For further details, visit the website, or call 1967 or 1800 345 5505 (8am to 8pm) or (033) 2252 8712 (control room number, 10.30am to 5.30pm), or visit the block food inspector’s office.

Three-fold increase in Bangla’s health budget in eight years

Bangla’s budgetary allotment in health has risen by almost three times over the period of the Trinamool Congress Government, from Rs 3,584 crore in 2010-11 to Rs 9,557 crore for 2019-20. This reflects the Health Department’s emphasis on improving healthcare services.

With Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the helm of the department, decisions and actions are taken promptly. As a result, people of Bangla are enjoying a public healthcare service like never before.

There has been a quantum jump in the strength of doctors – from 4,800 (2011) to 11,700 (2019). The strength of nurses has also seen a healthy increase – from 37,000 to 52,850.

Forty-two multi-superspeciality hospitals have been set up across the state with 6,483 paramedics and 30,000 support staff. Tenders have been floated for 27 private nursing schools to boost the number of nurses involved in health services at the various State Government hospitals.

The Swasthya Sathi family health insurance scheme has been a huge success, making healthcare highly affordable for the approximately 75 million people who are covered by it. The scheme entails coverage of Rs 5 lakh per annum.

Bangla is also nationally ahead in terms of system delivery, immunisation and in reducing infant and maternal mortality rates. The government has set up a considerable number of sick new baby units, paediatric intensive care units and trauma care units, along with increasing the number of government hospital beds.

Due to the Health and Family Welfare Department’s accomplishments, the Australian Government has shown interest over how India and Australia can partner in areas of quality remote care, alternate medicines, chronic disease management, critical support expertise, geriatric care, increasing women’s workforce participation as well as high-end research.

Land mapping to expand Haldia Industrial Zone

The State Government has decided to develop the surrounding areas of Haldia, in order to extend the Haldia Industrial Zone.

For this purpose the Haldia Development Authority has called for a tender for developing a ‘Land Use and Development Control Plan’ (LUDCP). The company conducting the survey would have to submit the report within 88 weeks, as per one of the conditions in the tender. A comprehensive industrial development plan would be created on the basis of the land use maps.

Three surrounding blocks of Haldia – Shahid Matangini, Kolaghat and Panskura – would be part of this development plan. A total of 805 square kilometres would be covered in the exercise.

Mouza-based digitised land use maps would be created as part of the LUDCP. Locations of agricultural plots, rivers, lakes, ponds, canals, gardens, forests, houses, railway tracks, roads, etc. – everything would be marked on these maps.

The help of satellite images as well as social-economic surveys would be used to create the maps. Differential GPS (DGPS) would be used for conducting the survey.

Source: Ei Samay

Centre not funding Bangla’s flood control, irrigation projects despite assurances

Despite repeated assurances, the Centre is not funding or has stopped funding several projects in Bangla related to flood control and irrigation, said the Irrigation Minister in the Assembly recently.

He said the State Government had given its approval for the Ghatal Master Plan way back in 2015. It was supposed to be funded to the tune of 75 per cent by the Central Government; in fact, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had written to the Centre in 2017, reminding it of its obligation. However, till date, the Centre has failed to provide the funds, with the result that the State Government has had to start the project on its own.

Not just that, the Centre has reduced its funding for several other projects from 75 per cent of the cost to just 50 per cent. The projects include the repairing of river bunds in the Sundarbans damaged by Cyclone Aila, building of canals in the Keleghai-Kalpeswari river basin, Kandi Master Plan, and a few others.

He also said that despite assurance, the Centre has not done anything regarding the project of preventing riverbank erosion along the Ganga and Bhagirathi.

The Minister gave the following data on State funding of flood and irrigation projects:

Ghatal Master Plan
State has spent Rs 73.03 crore till date, another Rs 116 crore after the rainy season

Kandi Master Plan
Instead of Rs 437.94 crore, Centre has given only Rs 57.45 crore
As a result, State Government has had to provide an additional Rs 166 crore, its total spend being Rs 209 crore
In FY 2016-17, Rs 150.40 crore asked for, only Rs 12.61 crore given
In FY 2017-18, Rs 150.61 crore asked for, only Rs 56 crore given

Repairing of Cyclone Aila-damaged embankments in the Sundarbans
In FY 2018-19, Rs 120 crore asked for, only Rs 23.65 crore given
In May, Rs 130 crore asked for, Rs 117.12 crore given

Keleghai-Kalpeswari River Basin Project
No funds provided in FY 2015-16 and 2016-17
In FY 2017-18, Rs 55.47 crore asked for, only Rs 8.08 crore given

Preventing riverbank erosion along Ganga and Bhagirathi
Work on 100.22km to be done, at a cost of Rs 793.93 crore
Of this, State spent Rs 156 crore in Nadia and Murshidabad districts
The rest was to be spent by the Centre, being part of national waterways.
State spent its part, but the Centre did not

Source: Bartaman