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14 Dec 2017

Returning migrant workers to get 200 days’ work: Mamata Banerjee

TNN | Dec 13, 2017, KOTSHILA (PURULIA): The Bengal government will provide 200 days' work — double the 100-day job scheme now in place under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act — to labourers who have been forced to return home from other states. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced this at a meeting at Kotshila in Purulia, 38 km from Jharkhand, on Tuesday.
"If someone is forced to return home after losing work in other states, I will provide him work. The government will guarantee 200 days' work for him even as the average performance in this district is 44," Banerjee said, training her guns on BJP-ruled states.
Tuesday's assurance came months after the Bengal government announced Rs 50,000 support for each family that returned to the state following the slump in the unorganised labour market after note ban.
Banerjee also iterated her commitment for 'Kanyashree' girls pursuing higher education in colleges. Girl students in arts stream with an annual family income below Rs 1.2 lakh will be entitled to a monthly scholarship of Rs 2,000, while it will be Rs 2,500 for science students. The government will make direct fund transfers to the candidate's zero balance bank account opened jointly with the mother.
Education, water supply, peace and recognition of Adivasi language and culture are the major planks of Banerjee's plan to politically insulate this part of Jangalmahal from Maoist influence and prevent BJP from making forays into this Adivasi land adjacent to BJP-ruled Jharkhand.
The CM had won hearts during the last panchayat elections in Jangalmahal in 2013 by ensuring subsidised rice supply at Rs 2 a kilo to marginalised sections in this belt.
Banerjee reminded people about the freebies following feedback that BJP had made inroads among Adivasis in some stretches of Purulia and Bankura. In fact, some BJP supporters had assembled at Joypur in Bankura to wave black flags at the CM, though she returned from Purulia by a helicopter.
"Our neighbouring state Jharkhand is rich in mineral resources. What has the BJP government done for the people there? There has been no development. They have also grabbed Adivasi land. We have set up two multi-specialty hospitals, recognised the Adivasi language and set up Kurmi Development and Culture Board for Adivasi welfare," Banerjee said.
The CM added: "We had also drawn up an integrated development plan for Jangalmahal on a twin-sharing basis with funds from the state and the Centre. The BJP-led Centre stopped funds, we didn't. Instead, we have allocated Rs 110 crore to keep the plan alive. We are also continuing with monthly pension for the elderly, disabled and widows even after the Centre discontinued support for this scheme."

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