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21 Dec 2016

Mamata voices rural woes.... Create the infrastructure for cashless economy- Mamata

Mamata at the meeting in Bankura on Tuesday. (Arup Sarkar)
TT, Dec. 21: Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee today cited specific examples to highlight how the Centre's demonetisation decision had affected people in rural areas.
In a marked departure from her usual speeches in the districts, where her focus is often on the state government's development agenda, the chief minister today laid stress on demonetisation.
"There are no labourers to harvest paddy. Crores of people have lost their jobs. Rural people are suffering immensely," the Trinamul chief told a rally in Bankura after an administrative review meeting this afternoon.
Yesterday, too, a major portion of Mamata's speech at another rally in the district focused on attacking the Modi government on the decision to recall the notes.
Sources in Trinamul said the focus on rural economy was part of a party strategy at a time queues outside ATMs and banks have thinned in the cities, prompting speculation among many that things are moving towards normality.
"She is already playing the lead role in protesting the Centre's decision nationally. But public opinion in Bengal is also a priority. There is a lot of resentment among the masses in rural areas over demonetisation. She just wants to give voice to the people's angst," a senior Trinamul Lok Sabha MP said.
The chief minister said the situation was "very grim" as many banks had conceded they don't have cash to disburse the Rs 24,000 weekly ceiling.
According to sources, those employed under the 100-day job scheme have not been able to withdraw their monthly wages because of the shortage of cash in banks.
"These are in areas where there are banks. Imagine the situation in villages where there are no banks.... The rural economy is dependent on cooperative banks. Even they are not receiving money. The labour force in the unorganised sector has been hit hard," Mamata said.
"Let them first create the infrastructure for cashless economy. Only bhashan (speech) won't do."
The emphasis on the 100-day job scheme is significant because it is one of the major employment generators in rural Bengal.
"I read new rules were announced today also. Everyday a decision is changed. This is an unstable government," she added.

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