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BackYou are here: NewsIndia Lalgarh Waits for Development Benefits

India

Lalgarh Waits for Development Benefits

KOLKATA: In July last year, nine top officers of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government were sent to Lalgarh, Kantapahari, Pirakata and Binpur all in West Midnapore to find out what the locals were most concerned about.

At the spot, they doled out largesse such as ration and BPL cards. Later, a Rs 400-crore package was announced for Lalgarh and surrounding areas. The nine-member team comprising officers of the secretary rank headed by the then backward classes welfare secretary, R D Meena was sent to the remotest areas and came up with a report. A second batch went there to prepare a detailed report.

But now, seven months later, no one in the administration seems to know what has been done to ensure development of the region.

Officials in the backward classes welfare department said the agencies and state departments concerned were dealing with the development work on their own. No one was sure how much money had been spent so far.

Apart from preparing a BPL list full of loopholes, the government has also failed to come up with a plan to redevelop the areas or rehabilitate tribals. Poor drinking water facilities, shoddy roads and an inadequate rationing system continue to be the major problems.

On Tuesday, state tourism minister Manabendra Mukherjee announced a scheme for BPL women in West Midnapore, Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum and North Dinajpur to be able to purchase tant sarees at subsidised rates from ration shops. But ration shops in the remote parts of Jangalmahal still don't function properly.

Last week, when Union home minister P Chidambaram was in Kolkata, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had handed over a report that showed progress in several government schemes.

Under NREGA, the state recorded an increase of 97.19% projects in West Midnapore from last year, the report said. He also mentioned that there had been an 84.87% rise in mandays in the district.

The central rural development ministry had also decided to spend Rs 1,139 crore for development of 155 backward districts in the country, including several in Bengal, such as the Maoist-hit West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia.

(Times of India, 16th February)