Amid tea workers, CM shirks starvation deaths

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who announced a slew of new projects for the people of Jalpaiguri district at a rally in Nagrakata on Friday, did not utter a single word on the burning issue in north Bengal — the starvation deaths in two tea gardens in the district — Dheklapara and Dalmore — which have been shut.

Keeping an eye on the panchayat polls scheduled in May next year, Mamata announced the tea-garden workers will get patta in khas government land around tea gardens but did not address the issue of malnutrition raised by several opposition political outfits and the NGOs.

Shirking off the responsibility to open the closed tea gardens, Mamata said the tea gardens are in the hands of private parties and not in the hands of the state government. "We have provided rice at Rs 2 per kilogram to the tea gardeners. Now, we have identified 500 acres of land which will be distributed to landless tea garden workers," Mamata said in attempt to douse the flame of grievance of the closed tea garden workers.

Blaming once again the Centre for indebtedness of the present government, Mamata said despite having willingness, her hands are tied because of the state's bankruptcy, which she termed as "a gift of the past Left regime".

She further announced that the Calcutta High Court has given the decision to create a new district — Alipurduar bifurcating Jalpaiguri district. The new projects announced by Mamata include a Hindi college at Banarhat, a degree college in Falakata, Hindi-medium school in Kalchini, a hostel for girls in Nagrakata, small-scale industry in Dabgram, cultural and tourism centre, skill development centre at Chalsa.

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