Bengal Govt seeks GI tag for Gobindobhog and Tulaipanji rice

For centuries they have been gastronomic delights. While one variety is an offering for gods as well as staple for the masses, the other is remarkable for retaining its aroma for around a year. ‘Tulaipanji’ and ‘Gobindobhog’ rice, both from West Bengal, have approached the GI registry seeking the prestigious tag.

The GI tag is given to a product to indicate its specific geographical location or point of origin. The tag ensures none other than those authorised are allowed to use the product name.

Underlining the need to protect the rice varieties from counterfeit ones, the petition said GI protection would increase market potential for in the domestic and foreign markets.

Gobindobhog rice

According to the report submitted by state government authorities, ‘Gobindobhog’ is a non-basmati indigenous, aromatic rice of West Bengal being grown in the state for the past 300 years.

It is has short white kernels with a good cooking quality and pleasant aroma. It is mainly cultivated during kharif season in Burdwan district.

The boiled rice is offered to Lord Krishna during religious ceremonies. A 17th century religious literature mentions it as a ‘bhog’ (offering) for the Hindu god. People also use it a table rice with dal (pulses).

Tulaipanji rice

GI was also sought for ‘Tulaipanji’ rice, which finds mention in a Sanskrit scripture of 1300 AD. The name comes from a Bengali word that means aromatic and soft, like cotton. What sets the rice apart from other varieties is that the grains can retain the aroma for around a year.

The cooked rice is whitish-yellow, slender, non-sticky and tasty. The rice is excellent for preparation of pulao, fried rice and biryani. Another distinct feature of the rice is its disease-pest resistance.

The rice producers are spread all over the state, and around 12,110 tonnes of the rice was sold during 2013, said the report.


The image is a representative one

WB CM holds administrative review meeting following the Administrative Calender

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee reviewed the development schemes at a meeting today following the Administrative Calender at the Nabanna Complex.

All ministers, bureaucrats and heads of district administration attended the meeting scheduled at 1 PM.

WB CM has always wanted all departments to ensure that development projects are implemented within the stipulated time.

Apart from reviewing the progress and status of various ongoing schemes as well as ensuring that all work gets completed within deadline, WB CM went through the performance of all the departments and the districts.

After the meeting the West Bengal Chief Minister said that the meeting had discussed all the issues raging from flood relief, health sector, education sector, as well as roadways. She said that the meeting discussed on disbursal of funds & their utilisation for various projects in the State. The State Government have spent 99.2% of the allotted funds for various projects in 2014-15, the WB CM said.

The WB CM said that the condition of the National Highways in the State at many parts are in deplorable condition. She said that repeated requests have been made to the Centre but nothing has been done. The Chief Minister said that she will personally take up the issue and go to Delhi. She also said that if Centre cannot take the responsibility of the NHs, it should be given to the states.

The WB CM said that the Center has reduced funds for projects like ICDS which is hampering the benefits to pregnant women, children and economically weaker section of the people. The State is being unable to plan our future projects due to ambiguity in the funds disbursal by the Centre.

The WB CM also said that the DMs of various districts have reported her that the banks are not cooperating in giving loans to farmers and Self Help Groups. She said that the State Finance Minister has already taken up the issue.

The review meetings are held by the Chief Minister twice a year apart from the administrative meetings in the districts.


German consul praises Mamata Banerjee

Outgoing German consul Rainer Schmiedchen lauded Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, appreciating her role in controlling situations in Jangalmahal and Darjeeling.

“Her governance made it easier for me to promote German tourists to the hills. She made honest efforts to solve the Gorkhaland situation and now there is a solution to bandhs. Tourism cannot prosper with bandhs and this was a success for Mamata, which the earlier government could not solve. I find her success in Jangalmahal a major achievement. as well,” Schmiedchen said.

“The CM is trying to boost investment in Bengal in a novel way, which started with Bengal Leads. She is trying her best to attract foreign funds, however the results are awaited,” he added.

The German diplomat was all praise for state finance minister Amit Mitra too.

“I do not hear any more about the dire financial straits of the state exchequer — this suggests that Mitra must have done something to solve the crisis. The CM is not seeking moratorium from the Centre anymore.”

The consul general added that his four-year stay in the city would remain a pleasant memory. “I requested the foreign office to extend my stay by a year since I liked Kolkata. It is a warm city and helped me to feel at home. My wife, an Indologist, also enjoyed her stay here. She was even awarded the Padma Sri this year.”

Schmiedchen said “I did not witness any hindrance in investment due to land hurdle here.” He admitted that there was no mega investment in Bengal as he had envisaged, but several German companies have started operations in Bengal.

Flood situation: WB CM chairs meeting of disaster management group at Nabanna

West Bengal Chief Minister held a meeting with the disaster management committee of the State to review the flood situation in the State. Several officials and ministers of various departments were present in the meeting.

The Chief Minister assigned specific ministers the charge over overseeing relief operations in specific districts. She said that Bengal received excess rainfall this year, over and above the normal. Ruing the fact that no one can control natural calamities, she said the government was taking all precautions in light of the fresh prediction of heavy rainfall in the next 48 hours.

“39 people have died so far in the flood situation due to various reasons like electrocution and snake bites. We have decided to give ex-gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh to families of those have lost their lives due to floods,” she announced during a press briefing after the meeting.

“We will carry out a survey of the damages caused to crops and farmlands. We are requesting the Centre to repair National Highways. PWD Dept will take care of State Highways,” she added.

The government had launched an emergency helpline 1070 yesterday for flood relief operations.

WB Govt launches emergency helpline number 1070 for flood situation

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee today reached Kolkata at 4:30 PM IST. Without wasting any time, she conducted a meeting with the Home Secretary and other senior officials at the airport itself.

The Chief Minister said that 26000 people have been shifted to relief camps so far. “Our priority is to provide relief to stranded people and carry on with rescue operations,” she added.

The government has launched an emergency helpline number. People can call 1070 for any information related to the relief operations.

Highlights of WB CM’s press briefing at Dumdum airport:

  • I met senior officials at airport itself. I took stock of the flood situation in the State from Home Secretary
  • I cut short my London visit due of the flood situation and impending cyclone. Dr Mitra and other officials are in London for meetings
  • We have dispatched relief materials to the affected areas. We are taking all measures to stand by the side of people
  • No one can control nature. We feel saddened at the losses due to heavy rains. Our priority is to provide relief to stranded people and carry on with rescue operations
  • Many houses and farm lands have been affected due to heavy rains. We will do everything possible to help people
  • We are monitoring the situation. District administration has been alerted. People in coastal areas must be careful


Tweets of WB CM from Dumdum airport:

West Bengal plans minimum wage laws for domestic help

The West Bengal government is considering framing laws to determine wages of domestic help, and has asked departments for their feedback on the subject, a minister said on Wednesday.

“Fixing wages is under consideration, and we have asked for feedback from various departments, including social welfare and labour, on this matter,” state Labour Minister Moloy Ghatak told a news agency.

He said the government was looking into various aspects before finalising a directive or regulation since there were different natures of work done by domestic help.

“The issue of non-standardised work hours is there. While some of them work in a household, attending to its sweeping needs, others may work as cooks etc. Besides, there is no particular time of work for them,” he said.

Ghatak said the state government has already framed laws over health benefits and other social sector schemes for the unorganised work force in the state.

“We already have these schemes running and the domestic help can avail these schemes,” he said.

Maidservants across the state have been asking the state to determine their wages, and are also pressing for several social sector benefits.

Hinduja praises WB CM’s industry initiatives

Gopichand Hinduja has heaped praise on West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee for her determination to attract industry in Bengal.

In an interview to a popular daily, he said WB CM “is trying hard to attract industry and investment to her state.”

“She is a good leader and has a clean image. I am certain she will become Chief Minister again after this term ends. Her intentions are clear – she wants to attract industry into Bengal,” he added.

Hinduja, who has a strong foothold in Bengal with the presence of Ashok Leyland, Hinduja Leyland finance and IndusInd Bank, had encouraging words for finance minister Dr Amit Mitra as well. “The finance minister knows how reforms can benefit the state,” he said.

“Mamata Banerjee is one of India’s prominent political leaders. Prime Minister David Cameron must meet her,” he added.

In fact, WB CM could become the first high level politician from India to meet David Cameron after his recent reelection as Britain’s PM.

WB CM will be in UK from July 26-30. This will be her second foreign visit as the chief minister of Bengal.

Bengal to get 10 more women police stations

10 more women police stations are coming up in West Bengal besides the existing 20.

The West Bengal Chief Minister had targeted to set up 65 such police stations across the State.  The government has approved the establishment of 330 posts under various categories for the new police stations. A woman police officer will head each of these police stations and majority of the other ranks will constitute of women also.

In the first phase 20 women police stations were set up at Howrah, Barasat, Baruipur, Asansol, Jhargram, Contai, Chinsurah, Krishnanagar, Siliguri and Jalpaiguri Sadar, sub-divisional headquarters of Burdwan Sadar, Medinipur Sadar, Purulia Sadar, Bankura Sadar, Darjeeling Sadar, Sreerampore (Hooghly), Suri (Birbhum), English Bazar (Malda), Diamond Harbour (South 24-Parganas) and Barrackpore (North 24-Parganas) have got such stations. Now, 10 new stations have opened at Bidhannagar and Durgapur Commissionerate, Cooch Behar, Balurghat, Raiganj, Berhampore, Kharagpur, Haldia, Uluberia and Arambag.  With these new stations the total number of all women police stations has reached to 30.

WB CM Ms Mamata Banerjee has been working relentlessly for the safety of women across the State. It was her idea to have all women police stations in the state to combat women related crimes. In a police station where women will not only feel free and safe to report criminal cases against them, but where such cases will also be dealt with immense sensitivity and compassion.

In another innovative step, the West Bengal Government is launching a special police cell to deal with highway accidents. This cell will be known as ‘Highway Traffic Police’. Along with investigating accident cases on highways, they will also take prompt action so that accident victims get immediate medical attention and effective rescue missions.