Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday (December 28) said that Nobel laureate Amartya Sen is being attacked by the BJP for his views against the Union government. 

Mamata Banerjee said, “Amartya Sen is our pride. He won the Nobel prize. Be it Abhijit Binayak Banerjee or Amartya Sen, they have a different place in society. Our educationists are being targeted. Now, they are feeling isolated.”

In a veiled attack on the BJP, Mamata said, “In all these years, they didn’t say anything on Netaji. Now they are talking on it.” 

Last week, Banerjee had written a letter to Sen expressing her anguish after Visva Bharati, a central university, had said that Sen’s family was in “illegal” possession of the land on the campus.

“Amartya Sen is being attacked for his views against the Union government. This is completely unacceptable. Just like, I am being attacked for my political views,” she said while talking to reporters.

Sen has written to Banerjee, thanking her for the support, and said her strong voice is a tremendous source of strength. The noted economist has accused the Visva Bharati vice-chancellor of acting at the behest of the Centre “with its growing control over Bengal”. 

The West Bengal CM also took potshots at ‘outsiders’, and said “They want to torch Bengal through riots. BJP is trying to break universities and educational institutions like JNU, Jorasanko Thakurbari. Bengal is being maligned. Gandhiji came to Beleghata to bring peace here during riots. Give me a teleprompter, I can also read it. But I don’t need it. I’m directly addressing the public.”

Mamata said, “Bengal is the cultural capital of India just as Mumbai is the financial capital of India.” On Rabindranath Tagore, she added, “How can they use Rabindranath Tagore as a political tool when they know nothing about Bengal.”

Expressing her solidarity with farmers’ agitation, she said, “we are with the farmers. We demand the three draconian bills be withdrawn.” 

Administration at the doorsteps 

Mamata Banerjee today claimed that the West Bengal government’s ‘Duare Sarkar’ (administration at the doorsteps) programme has been a huge success. She, however, announced a new initiative ‘Paray Paray Samadhan’, under which local neighbourhood grievances will be redressed.

The chief minister said that the programme will be launched on January 2 and will continue till February 15, adding “This will not address major infrastructural gaps but will address municipal, local or service gaps through specific mission mode to reach out to the neighbourhood. This will be supplementary of ‘Duare Sarkar’ which has reached out to crores of people. It will be a New Year’s gift.” 

Banerjee said during an administrative review meeting held in Bolpur. Through ‘Duare Sarkar’, the West Bengal government aims to enable left-out eligible beneficiaries to avail 11 state-run schemes. 

Deocha Pachami coal block to generate 1 lakh jobs

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that at least one lakh jobs will be created once the Deocha Pachami coal block in Birbhum district operationalises, while addressing at an administrative review meeting in Bolpur.

She expressed hope that the coal extracted will be sufficient to generate electricity for 100 years, adding “One lakh jobs will be created which will solve the problem of unemployment.” The world’s second-largest coal block, with an estimated reserve of 2.1 billion tonnes, was reportedly allocated to West Bengal by the Centre in June 2018.

The coal block, spread over 9.7 sq km in the southwestern part of Birbhum, has the potential to bring in investments to the tune of Rs 12,000 crore over a period of time.

On people fearing that they will lose their lands due to the project, Mamata Banerjee said, “As of now, the area earmarked for the coal block is uninhabited and nobody owns any land there, so there is no problem.”

(With Agency Inputs)

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