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Admin review meet in Paschim Medinipur: Ensure no riots during RSS chief’s visit, CM tells police

The Indian Express logo The Indian Express 18-05-2022 Express News Service
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Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday directed police to ensure that no riots break out during Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s visit to Paschim Medinipur district from May 17 to 20. Presiding over an administrative review meeting in the district, the CM also alleged that ‘miscreants’ from neighbouring Jharkhand and Bihar were coming to West Bengal with firearms and committing crimes.

“The RSS chief will be staying at Keshiary from May 17 to 20. Give him protection and ensure that no riots take place. Send him sweets and fruits on behalf of the administration. He should feel welcome. Keep a good watch. The MLAs should also keep watch,” Banerjee told the officer-in-charge of Keshiary police station who was present at the meeting.

Bhagwat is scheduled to camp in Paschim Medinipur’s Keshiary for four days where he will take part in an RSS training camp. The camp will be held for three weeks.

“Bihar has illegal arms manufacturing units. Miscreants from Bihar and Jharkhand are entering West Bengal with weapons. They are coming through trains. They conceal their weapons under vegetables to hoodwink the police. The GRP is not putting a check to this but we have to.”

The CM’s comment comes days after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) alerted four eastern states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha over the possible resurgence of left-wing extremist (LWE) or Maoist activities in their erstwhile strongholds.

Banerjee further said FIRs would now be filed against private hospitals and nursing homes if they refuse to accept the ‘Swasthya Sathi’ card, which promises benefits under the state government’s universal health insurance scheme.

Expressing displeasure over reports on rampant illegal wood smuggling in forest areas of the district, she said, “I have received reports that certain panchayat members and employees of the local police and forest department are involved in this illegal trade. I am directing the district administration to take strong action against the offenders.”

‘Special funds to pay MGNREGA wages’

Hitting out at the Centre for allegedly not releasing funds resulting in the state being unable to pay salaries to people working under the 100 days’ work scheme, Banerjee advised setting up a “crisis management fund”.

She said that the funds will be created by taking a portion of the money allocated to some departments. “For the last four months, people are not getting their salary under the 100 days work scheme. The primary reason is that the Centre has not given us the funds for it. We have not got what we are supposed to get. As a result, poor people are facing a crisis…. In this situation, I will ask the chief secretary to find out a plan,” Banerjee said at the review meeting in Kharagpur on Tuesday.

For the time being, a “crisis management fund” will be created with a portion of funds allocated to departments like the Public Works Department, Irrigation, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Panchayat, she said. Non-technical works of these departments would be done through the 100 days scheme. “I don’t know when they (central government) will release funds. Let us keep on pursuing that. I have already written to the Centre in this regard,” she said.

Banerjee was referring to her letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, seeking his intervention to release funds for MGNREGA and PM Awas Yojana (PMAY) in the state.

During the meeting, the chief minister also criticised the PWD for delay in executing a few projects — building two gates and a community hall in the district.

She asked officials to drop PWD from the projects and instead employ engineers of the Howrah Improvement Trust and the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioner (HRBC) to complete the works.

— With PTI inputs

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