Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday replied most of the questions asked by the Congress MLAs on behalf of her ministers while pulling up a few of them for not answering properly.
The Question Hour session this morning in West Bengal Assembly, witnessed a visibly angry Miss Banerjee asking state forest minister Binay Krishna Burman as to why he could not give a specific answer to the question asked by the Congress MLA, Asit Mitra, on the steps taken to handle mafias from cutting down trees in forest areas.
“Why are you not giving a specific answer to the question? If I ask the same question what would you say?” questioned Miss Banerjee leaving Burman fumbling.
After waiting a few moments for Burman to clarify the issue, Miss Banerjee said in order to handle the problems of the forest areas, the state forest department has decided to set up its own recruitment board wherein local youths would be recruited as forest security guards.
“As these youths possess knowledge of the area they will be able to address the forest related problems in a better way,” she said adding that it has been found that outsiders (candidates recruited through SSC) being unaware of forest areas and are not able to function properly.
Admitting that mafias were involved in cutting down trees, Miss Banerjee said, “action is will be taken against these mafias and directed the forest minister and officials to take up the issue seriously.”
Burman later added that ‘Aranya Bandhus’ were engaged by the department to co-ordinate with the ranger officers and bring necessary permissions prior to cutting down trees in unforested areas.
Miss Banerjee also pitched in when backward classes welfare minister Rajib Banerjee was answering a question. The chief minister said, “In West Bengal, no tribal land would be transferrred.”
“We were receiving complaints that some rich people were trying to buy pattas of the Adivsis’ land. So we have enaqcted a law which will provide adequate protection to the Adivasis and their land.”
She also asked the minister to circulate the Bill to all MLAs especially those who are from Jungle Mahal areas. Tourism minister Goutam Deb too face Miss Banerjee’s ire for not providing information on the possibility of holding light and sound show on Plassey ground where the 1757 war of independence was fought.
Prior to this, Trinamul Congress MLA Mohua Moitra had questioned whether there was any plan to host a light and sound show on Plassey likewise that organised on Motijheel. With Deb failing to give proper information, Miss Banerjee interrupted saying the proposal is under consideration.
Miss Banerjee, herself gave a detailed account of the various new and ongoing tourism projects across the state. She announced setting up a monument in Morichjhapi Island in Sundarbans in memory of the incident of forcible eviction of Bangladeshi refugees in 1979 and the subsequent death of around hundred in police firing.
In fact, chief minister actively participated in Thursday’s session by providing detailed information to the MLAs. Fisheries minister Chandranath Sinha spoke about efforts of increasing fish production in the state and Miss Banerjee provides detailed information on this issue such as, efforts like fish rearing in the 700 agriculture ponds and the two lakh ponds that were dugged under the government sponsored ‘Jal Dharo Jal Bharo’ scheme.
“In Bengal, the demand for fish is 18.84 lakh metric tonn per year and the production is 17.42 lakh metric tonn. Around 1.5 lakh metric tonn is exported every year. Thus there is a dearth of 1.72 lakh metric tonn,” said Mr Sinha.