Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today made an appeal to save tobacco industry, especially in Murshidabad district, and elsewhere in Bengal.
During an administrative review meeting here this afternoon, she asked officials to come up with suggestions for reviving the tobacco industry. “Tell me how to save bidi industry,” the CM asked her departmental secretaries. She put the blame on the central government for the crisis and poor growth of tobacco industry across India.
Urging the elected representatives to take up the issue at national level, she said, “Tell Derek (Trinamool Congress MP) to raise the matter in Parliament.” When informed that an ESI hospital in Murshidabad, reportedly run by the Union labour department, has no doctors, Miss Banerjee today declared that the Bengal government would set up a similar hospital exclusively for tobacco workers.
She also asked her officials for departmental coordination to ensure that the bidi labourers’ hospital comes up without delay in the tobacco belt of Murshidabad. The state health department would jointly work with the labour department officials to set up the hospital, she said. She ruled out the possibility of reviving the tobacco workers’ hospital at Tarapur area of Dhuliyan when her officials proposed to take over the Centre’s hospital at Tarapur as the Centre “won’t give the permission”.
Today she disclosed the priority sectors for creating jobs in areas like textile, poultry, milk, tourism including hotels and home tourism (individual house owners offering one or more rooms for visitors to be treated like paying guests) in places known for history, heritage or other tourists’ attraction. She promised to make Murshidabad a self-sufficient in terms of industry. Scotching speculation that Murshidabad might be split into two, she said, “I don’t have so many officers to do it.”