TT, Siliguri, Feb. 24: The state government has appointed tourism minister Gautam Deb as the chairman of the north Bengal development council in a fresh hint that Mamata Banerjee is not satisfied with Rabindranath Ghosh's performance as the north Bengal development minister.
"There are reports that the state Trinamul leadership is not satisfied with Ghosh's performance. The first indication of it came when Deb was made the convener of a 15-member committee of MLAs and ministers in north Bengal in August. The committee was assigned with the task of monitoring each project in the region and hold a meeting once in every fortnight. It was surprising that Deb was made the convenor when Ghosh as the north Bengal development minister is more important," said an observer.
Questions were raised about Ghosh's status in Trinamul as there was just 10 per cent increase in the budgetary allocation for north Bengal development department for the coming fiscal. When Deb was in charge of the department, the allocation had gone up substantially every year.
Deb's appointment as the chairman of the development council shows that Mamata wants him to monitor every project undertaken by the north Bengal department.
"The council does not have funds of its own for development. On the other hand, the north Bengal department has funds. The tourism minister has been asked to coordinate with the council. It shows that the chief minister wants to give more impetus to the projects being taken up by the department. When a minister is given the charge of the council, we can assume Mamata is upset with the performance of Ghosh," said a Trinamul insider.
Asked about the new role, Deb said: "I will get details of the progress of projects in different districts and work in consultation with ministers and MLAs who are on the committee formed last year."