18 - 10 - 2019

Mamata Banerjee meets PM Narendra Modi, urges him to write off West Bengal's debt

Kolkata, Sept 18,2019: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national capital during which she took up the issues of pending projects in her state.Speaking to reporters after meeting the PM, Mamata said, ''We have been demanding Centre's support on changing Bengal's name. I have reminded the PM  about it. My MPs had met him.''

''I have requested the Prime Minister to attend the programme for world's second-largest coal block Deocha Pachami in Birbhum district after Navratri puja. The project is worth Rs 12,000 crores,'' the West Bengal CM said.

The Trinamool Congress chief said that she has given papers on what her government has done in recent years in Bengal.

''We have asked him to write off Bengal's debt. I will try to meet the Home Minister too,'' Mamata said. 

She categorically said that it was a meeting between two governments and not much should be read into it politically.

The firebrand TMC leader also refused to answer questions related to CBI's ongoing probe into the Saradha chit fund scam.    

Interestingly, Banerjee had got Kolkata-made sweets delivered to PM Modi's 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence, a day before their meeting.

Banerjee flew to Delhi on Tuesday, which was also PM Modi`s birthday.

Her meeting with the PM comes at a time when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is trying to locate her close aide and former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar for questioning in connection with the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam case.

Mamata's meeting with the PM has triggered intense speculations in the political circles and the Bengal unit chief of the Congress party, Somen Mitra, has accused the West Bengal CM of making a desperate bid to ensure an "escape route" for Kumar, who is currently untraceable


Mamata Banerjee leads protest rally over Assam NRC, says no such exercise will be allowed in Bengal

KOLKATA, Sept 12,2019: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Thursday lead a protest march against the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam which left nearly 19 lakh people in its final list.

The TMC supremo was accompanied by her party colleagues during the protest march which began from Sinthee More in the northern fringes of the Kolkata city around 3 PM. The rally will culminate at Shyambazar five-point crossing.

The Trinamool Congress leadership, which has been one of the vociferous critics of the NRC, has accused the BJP of trying to divide people through the exercise.   

Speaking on the issue, Mamata said, ''19 lakh people have been left out in the final list, including Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. It's 76th year of independence, still we've to give proof of our identity. Why?''

''For the sake of religion, for the sake of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, I don't agree with NRC,'' she added.

Attacking the Narendra modi government, the TMC chief said, ''You (Centre) won't be able to shut Bengal's mouth as you did in Assam by using your police. Suddenly, you are teaching us religion as if we don't celebrate Eid, Durga Puja, Muharram and Chhath Puja.''

 She also took the opportunity to slam the Centre over the newly implemented Motor Vehicle Act, which she dubbed as ''being too harsh.''

The West Bengal Chief Minister categorically said that her government will not implement the new stringent Motor Vehicle Act as it would add to the people's burden.

"We are not going to impose the heavy penalties which the amended rules of the MVA decree, as these are very harsh and will overburden the people. But we have a `Safe Drive, Safe Life` campaign because of which a number of accidents has come down," she told the media at the State Secretariat Nabanna.

Over 19 lakh of the 3.29 crore applicants in Assam did not find a place in the final National Register of Citizens (NRC), which was published on August 31.

Mamata Banerjee hits out at BJP, says it should not dream of ruling West Bengal

Kolkata,Sept 5,2019: In a veiled attack on the BJP, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Thursday, said that those who had vandalised the statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar should not dream of ruling West Bengal. 

"Modern-day India is different from the old India. We are working under threat. History cannot be changed, Vidyasagar statue cannot be vandalised and then the same people try to rule Bengal. I request all to uphold the diversity of Bengal," Banerjee said at an event here.

The bust of Vidyasagar, a 19th-century social reformer, was vandalised in clashes between BJP and Trinamool Congress workers at Vidyasagar College during BJP President Amit Shah's roadshow on May 14.

Banerjee had unveiled a new statue of Vidyasagar on June 11, which was then installed in the same place later in the day.

During the course of the event, which was held on Teachers` Day, the West Bengal Chief Minister also accused the Center of not giving adequate funds to the state governments.

"The state government earns from the public to carry out their expenditure. Unlike the Centre, which has an RBI and can withdraw money as per their wish at any time and they can also print new currency. Centre does not give us enough to spend and they take so much tax from the state," Banerjee said.

Further blaming the Centre she added, "Central government has closed down Sarwa Shiksha Abhiyaan and due to that we cannot work. We could have done much more

Debt-ridden Mamata Banerjee govt 'gifts' Rs 70 crore to West Bengal Durga Puja organisers

Kolkata, Sept 1,2019:At a time when West Bengal is reeling under a debt burden, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced a Durga Puja ‘gift’ to the organisers that would cost the state exchequer as much as Rs 70 crore.

As many as 3,000 Durga Puja pandals are set up in Kolkata alone while the rest of Bengal witnesses over 25,000 Durga Pujas pandals. Each of these 28,000 Durga Puja committees would be 'gifted' Rs 25,000, a whopping increase from Rs 10,000 that was given last year.

The West Bengal Chief Minister also announced an additional Rs 5,000 for the Durga puja committees which are fully managed by women only. Apart from this, she also announced that CESC and WBSEDCL – electricity supply boards in Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal, respectively, will offer a 25% concession on the total electricity bill of each of the Durga puja pandals.

“We are a poor man’s government but we still try our best for the Durga puja committees. Instead of Rs 10,000 given last year, we are increasing it to Rs 25,000 this year. I am aware that the economic condition of the Durga puja committees is not very well and the electricity unit prices have also risen, hence we are offering 25% discounts on electricity bills. Kolkata Municipal Corporation tax have also been eradicated,” said Mamata Banerjee.

The Mamata Banerjee government inherited a debt of around Rs two lakh crore from the Left Front government when it came to power back in 2011. However, the Chief Minister and state finance minister Amit Mitra have been raising the issue of a waiver of the debt time and again with the Centre.

While the total loan repayment figure for the year (2018-19) stood at Rs 49,656 crore, it rose to Rs 56,183.16 crore for the year 2019-20.


Mamata Banerjee makes, serves tea during village visit

Kolkata,Aug 22,2019: Donning the role of a tea-seller, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was spotted brewing some cups at a stall during her official tour to state's coastal town of Digha, instantly catching the eye of social media users.

While inspecting the area to ensure better facilities for tourists, Banerjee suddenly asked her convoy to stop in front of a tea shack.

Her security officials and other administrative officials were clueless on why the CM had asked to stop her convoy at Duttapur area all of a sudden. Before anyone could guess, 'Didi' simply walked into the shack and asked the owner if she could make tea for the customers.

The tea stall owner was taken aback by her gesture and greeted Banerjee with folded hands and helped her brew tea. When the tea was ready, she politely asked the tea stall owner to serve it.

At the time of Didi's chai-wali avatar, party leaders like Suvendu Adhikary and Subrata Mukherjee were also present. In the meantime, a large number of local people gathered in the area to have a glimpse of the chief minister.

She distributed cupcakes, chocolates among the children, and also took one of them in her arms and inquired about his education. "Sometimes the little joys in life can make us happy. Making and sharing some nice tea (cha/chai) is one of them. Today, in Duttapur, Digha," she tweeted.

This is not the first time that Mamata took some time out for herself. In January, she found time out of her tight schedule for a game of badminton in Birbhum district's Bolpur during an administrative meeting. Later, she tweeted the video of herself with a caption, "We love sports. A token game in a village." But her tea-seller avatar in Digha is reminiscent of Narendra Modi's 'chaiwallah' pitch before he became the prime minister for the first time in 2014.

As Banerjee is facing a strong anti-incumbency wave in Bengal which brought her tally from 34 to 22 seats in the recently held Lok Sabha polls, team 'PK' (Prashant Kishor) is silently working on a 'complete image makeover' of TMC chief.

Party leaders felt that this could be her initiative towards an image makeover after poll strategist Prashant Kishor advised her to keep things 'measured'.

( input from new agencies)


Congress Names Adhir Chowdhury Lok Sabha Chief

Kolkata, June 18,2019:The Congress today named senior West Bengal leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury its leader in Lok Sabha, after failing to convince Rahul Gandhi to take up the post. At the long-pending strategy session this morning - where Mr Gandhi and his mother UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi were present - the matter was discussed. A letter has been written to Lok Sabha, saying Mr Chowdhury would be the leader of the single largest party from the opposition and represent it at all important selection committees.

The party also focused on tomorrow's meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss his "One nation one election" idea. The Congress has so far opposed it, arguing against it from practical, logistical and legal angles.

The question of a Lok Sabha leader opened up after the party's senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge lost the election. But the Congress was soft-pedalling on the issue as it wanted Rahul Gandhi for the position.

But Mr Gandhi, since the party's rout in the national election, has been insistent on giving up the party chief's post. The party has refused to accept it and there has been an impasse for weeks.

With the Lok Sabha being convened yesterday, the party today opted for an alternative.

Along with Adhir Chowdhury, Kerala leader K Suresh, party spokesperson Manish Tewari and Thiruvanathapuram lawmaker Shashi Tharoor were reportedly in the running for the post.

But Mr Chowdhury - a five-time member of the Lok Sabha - was chosen in view of his long experience in the parliament and the party.