Tag Archives: west bengal government

Bengal DA protesters in Delhi warn ‘intense’ agitation if Mamata Banerjee remains defiant, forum members vouch to fight

Protests, agitations are common at the Jantar Mantar. We journalists make regular visits to the venue to cover political rallies, mass agitations over social issues. Past two days Jantar Mantar witnessed a different kind of protest. Over 500 state government employees working across various offices in West Bengal staged an agitation at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar demanding the Dearness Allowances (DA). Their agitation entered into 75th day on April 11, 2023 (Tuesday) in Kolkata where protesters are sitting on a dharna at the iconic Shahid Minar (Ochterlony Monument). The first batch of ‘Sangrami Jautha Mancha’ members comprising of around 300 people left for Delhi by Howrah Rajdhani Express on Saturday and another 200 members left for Delhi by Sealdah Rajdhani Express on Sunday. “The members of ‘Sangrami Jautha Mancha’ will sit on a dharna at the Jantar Mantar on April 10 and 11, 2023. We are compelled to take this decision as our state government is in a complete defiance mood,” Informed Bhaskar Ghosh, convener of the Sangrami Joutho Mancha. The Delhi Police had issued permits from 10 am to 4 pm for both days.

Demands at a glance:
1) Demand for the Dearness Allowances (DA).
2) Permanent job for the contractual workers.
3) Focus on the teachers’ recruitment scam.

Besides their demand for DA, the agitation also focused against the alleged teachers’ recruitment scam that has ashamed Bengal. Former Education Minister Partha Chaterjee, a close confidant of Trinamool Supremo Mamata Banerjee and nephew turned party General Secretary Abhiskek Banerjee, was the first catch by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). One of the biggest scam ever, numerous Trinamool leaders – From Kuntal Ghosh, a youth wing Hooghly district leader to party leader Shantanu Banerjee, the list is endless. Close confidant of the Banerjee’s, SujayKrishna Bhadra was served a notice asking him to appear before the investigating agencies at Nizam Palace in Kolkata. Bhadra who was once the all-in-all of nephew’s company, ‘Leaps & Bounds’, was mentioned as ‘Kalighat r Kaku’ (Kalighat’s Uncle) by Ghosh during the interrogation. Infact, Kuntal had named Shantanu who raised money from the job-seekers.

However, the members of the forum had to postpone their plans to meet and submit a memorandum to President Draupadi Murmu, Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharama and few other politicians as they were out of station. According to members of the forum, the meeting will commence later. On Tuesday, they went to submit the memorandum at the respective offices.

“We have come to Delhi not just for the DA but we also want to raise our voices against the teachers’ recruitment scam. We stand beside them. So many deserving candidates were deprived of their jobs because they could not pay the money,” said Debabrata Mukherjee, member, Sangrami Jautha Mancha: (See the video)

Mukherjee also mentioned the attitude of the state government and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had once said, “gheu gheu kore laabh nei. aami gheu gheu ke bhoi paina…aami jaani ki korte hobe…” (Don’t bark, it will not help…I am not scared of barking…I know what to do). “She compared us with barking dogs…We are asking for our rights not begging,” added Mukherjee: (See Video)

Slogans like, “Sangrami Jautha Manch long live” or “khela mela shob e holo, DA r taka kothai gelo… artho montri jwabab chai…jwabab dao” made Jantar Mantar ‘hot’, their voices could be heard from the main road leading towards the venue. Their slogans, songs and poems reflected their conviction to fight out till their last breath.

Snehashis, member of Sangrami Jautha Mancha had a hard hitting message for the Chief Minister, “We run the government and you are depriving us of our genuine demands. We know everybody’s secrets. Stop this at once else get ready to face more intense agitation in the coming days.” Another member of the forum, Shantanu Mondal said, “Our demand is DA and we want to show Mamata Banerjee that we are united and are capable to fight for our rights.”

The agitation in the capital ended on Tuesday on a strong note. The state government may call them “barking dogs” or “cheats who had managed to secure their jobs by palm greasing of the Left”, but the members of the Sangrami Jautha Mancha will stand united for their rights and they will see an end to their already 75-days ‘dharna’ at the Shahid Minar in Kolkata. “We are ready to sit for many more days,” said S Som. Mamata Banerjee may call this “choto ghotona” (petty incident), “sajano ghotona” (concocted incident) or “bohiragoto der kaaj” (work of aliens), her three cult ‘catch phrases’ but the spirits of the forum is quite high and they are ready to take the state government’s ‘defiance’ head on.

Praises going overboard! Bengal Governor compares Mamata Banerjee with icons like Radhakrishnan, Milton & Kalam

Let’s keep aside paintings, songs and not to forget poems like ‘epang opang jhopang…potang…dang dang…” the masterpieces by Trinamool Supremo Mamata Banerjee, what should we call a Chief Minister who says, “Will offer stone chips to PM Modi in Bengal” or “Shall slap him”? Or are these very civilised words? The issue has come up as Governor CV Ananda Bose complimenting Banerjee being conferred upon with DLitt by St Xavier’s University.

Few observations – A blunt compliment from the Governor for a political head is dangerous. This means the Governor either has no clue of the ‘jungle raaj’ in the state or least interested in the plight of people. It’s indeed scary as Trinamool is using Bose as a ‘reply’ or sand bag. From past Governors – MK Narayanan, Keshari Nath Tripathi to Dhankar, Banerjee had problems. Is this a political posturing? Trinamool has a least interest for administrative chairs, why still, Bose is so appreciative? Many missing links…

Re-joinder: Governor Bose has compared Trinamool Supremo with names like Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Vajpayee, Winston Churchill… Dr Radhakrishnan and John Milton (the worst comparisons …perhaps). Supremo called Park Street gangrape “choto ghotona” (petty incident) and sent the Investigating Officer in exile posting for bringing facts. She could identify ‘Maoists’ just by seeing – Tumpa and Moushumi Koyal to Shiladittya and even a college student in TV show Taniya Bhardwaj. Gave the slogan ‘bodla noy badal chai’ (not revenge but change), mere slogan. Never complimented Barun Biswas, the man (a real hero) stood against marathon rapes in Sutia. No ‘bhushan or shree’ awards. Height of shamelessness when she introduced compensation for rape victims – more money if victim is young. Never heard a word when oppositions are attacked. Least talk of her schemes – ‘Shree and Sathi’, I have seen in Kolkata, interacted with incumbents and parents. Not going into political inefficiency, she has ruined health, education and governance.    

Rejoinder: Honestly, I wanted to stay away from this too in volumes but a journo instigated me on Mamata Banerjee. Infact, I know I am more than a vocal, aggressive and blunt critic of Trinamool and Supremo. I can’t write everything on the public domain why, when and what has turned me into a critic but all I can say and those who know Bengal thick and thin or follow knows whatever I write, say in my LIVES on #nonsensetalknews are nothing but truth. The fact is people who today are against her were once the biggest admirers of her as they ushered-in immense faith in her but she lost it all to satisfy, appease and please vested interests. Eg. She called Park Street gamgrape as “choto ghotona” (petty incident) as the main accused Kader Khan was the boyfriend and fiance of actress turned Trinamool Nusrat Jahan. Numerous instances. All this gradually ditanced her from the people who simply regarded as Goddess. In 2011, when she came to power, people had immense expectations but she failed on the face value to keep their confidence. Ask locals across Bengal, and you will hear it yourself. She not only ruined the state but maligned humanity, may talk big on women safety but actually did nothing to protect the dignity of women… Talk to people in the state, find out yourself.

Snippet news at a glance:

Is Bengal really prepared to face COVID variant BF.7 upsurge? CM, Heath Minister to continue with New Years bash & Ganga Sagar Mela

In wake of the recent upsurge in COVID across the globe, worst affected is China that is now under complete lockdown after it reported endless deaths. Back home in India too, the situation is under scanner as the Union Health Ministry is keeping a strict vigil on the situation. The Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had chaired a high level health meeting on Wednesday followed by another meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The virtual meeting was attended by Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Mandaviya alongwith senior officials including doctors.

The outcome of the meeting, the government said there was nothing to be scared at this moment but stressed on the need to follow COVID protocols. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Assam even Punjab decided to follow COVID protocols. As expected West Bengal showed reluctance in implementing the COVID protocols at this moment.

Trinamool Supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee immediately after the meeting chaired by PM Modi, said her state is prepared for the adverse situation but she will not implement the COVID protocol at this hour as she does not feel the need for facemask. It seems Mamata Banerjee has not learn from the past experience. Last year, immediately after the New Year bash at Park Street (regular event) there was an upsurge of COVID. The medical fraternity had literally pleaded Banerjee with folding hands not to relax the protocols but she had turned a deaf ear to the requests of doctors. This year too inspite of the COVID scare, the West Bengal chief minister has announced ther will be New Years bash as usual and the Ganga Sagar Mela (an annual event) will not be carried as per schedule.

On Friday, Mansukh Mandaviya, chaired a virtual meeting with states and announced West Bengal will be a part of the countrywide mock drill on December 27 to ensure the readiness of infrastructure with a specific focus on oxygen plants, ventilators, logistics and human resources. State health minister Chandima Bhattacharya informed that the state is prepared for the situation. However, there was a total reluctance on the implementing of COVID protocols. “There will be a countrywide Covid-19 mock drill on December 27. West Bengal will be conducting the drill as well”, informed Bhattacharya. She said the state was continuing with genome sequencing. 

West Bengal had ignored the COVID protocols during Durga Puja, Diwali or Kali Puja, Christmas, New Years and Ganga Sagar Mela. The result of this was an upsurge in the COVID cases. The state government speaks of preparations, but the fact is it had under played the numbers of deaths in the previous surges. Not just this, but the death certificates were allegedly doctored as there was an unwritten stricture of putting any reason behind the death but COVID as it would bring the actual number in the glare. I myself met many such poor families who had lost their near and dear ones to the pandemic but did not either get the mortal remains from the hospital which was sent directly to the Dhapa ground for mass cremation or the death certificate carried different reason of death. I saw these people fuming but in tears. Yet, Chadrima Bhattacharya and Banerjee are talking of preparations to face any adverse situation.

Well, in such a situation all we can do is to keep our fingers crossed and pray no fatality are reported,

Mamata Banerjee’s poll ‘lollipop’ ‘Duare Ration’ scheme legally void, says Calcutta HC

A big setback for Trinamool Supremo and West Bengal state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after the Calcutta High Court imposed a ban on her government’s Duare Ration scheme that was launched in November 2021, as a part of the Trinamool’s election manifesto in the West Bengal Assembly election last year. The scheme had run into huge controversy as people who were supposed to get the advantage of the scheme said they did not get ration or the ration they received was below the standards to be consumed.

Coming down heavily on the state government, the court said, “In view of our discussion supra we are constrained to hold, in fine, that Duare Ration Scheme is ultra vires the National Food Security Act, 2013 and is therefore a nullity in the eye of law”.

The order also mentioned that if the NFS Act is amended by the Parliament for doorstep delivery of food grains, only then such a state can bring such a scheme.

Just after the implementation of the election manifesto by Trinamool government, a petition was filed against the Duare Ration scheme at Calcutta High Court in 2021, terming it to be illegal. However, a single bench had found nothing to be illegal in the scheme and let it continue. The order was challenged.

Under the scheme, vehicles carrying rations reach people’s neighbourhoods and are stationed 500 metres from their residences. The people could collect their rations from these vehicles.

A division bench of Justices Chitta Ranjan Dash and Aniruddha Roy held that the Duare Ration scheme is “ultra vires of the National Food Security (NFS) Act, 2013” and “is, therefore, a nullity in the eye of the law.” It added that the scheme has “no legal validity.”

A large number of fair price dealers moved court and pointed out that it would be difficult to implement the scheme. The Calcutta High Court, however, dismissed the case. Later, a section of ration dealers filed a fresh case before a division bench.

Under the scheme, each ration dealer was allowed to appoint at least two people to help them deliver rations to the citizens. Half of the salary of these workers was to be paid by the state government.

The order stated that no state government can supply ration to doorstep. It added that the scheme has “no legal validity”.