Bengal govt will never allow division of state, says guv's inaugural address

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Kolkata, Jul 2 (PTI) West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar's inaugural speech in the assembly, which was tabled on Friday amid ruckus by opposition BJP MLAs, has, among other things, asserted that the state government, under no circumstance, will allow the division of the state.

Two BJP leaders have recently raised demands for the state's bifurcation - one seeking a separate union territory for north Bengal and the other a whole new state for Jangalmahal and adjoining areas.

The governor's address, of which Dhankhar could read out only a few lines, also pointed out that the TMC government was 'alarmed' at the attempts made to sow seeds of division among the people of Bengal.

The Mamata Banerjee-led government will not allow the division of the state and its people at any cost, said the inaugural address drafted for governor.

Ushered in by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Speaker Biman Banerjee as per norm, the governor on Friday afternoon started reading out the address to the House when opposition BJP MLAs trooped into its well, staging protest over incidents of post-poll violence.

Amid the sloganeering, the governor tabled the speech after reading out a few lines from the 18-page address, which the state cabinet had approved.

Contending that the TMC government strongly condemns all types of violence in the strongest possible terms, the speech, drafted by the ruling dispensation, said, 'As regards to the much-talked-about 'post poll violence', all the incidents occurred during the election period when the law and order machinery in the state was under the control, direction and superintendence of the Election Commission of India.' It further claimed that 'immediate action was taken with the sharpest agility and strict impartiality' after the democratically elected new government took over.

Insisting that a particular group of politically biased people, for its own vested interest, has been spreading fake news, half-truths and blatant lies on social media to defame the government, it also said, 'Bengal is the safest state and Kolkata the safest city in the country.' It stated that the government has taken action against those circulating fake videos and posts.

As many as 93 cases have been registered and 477 posts blocked, according to the inaugural speech.

Maintaining that 'the long-drawn election process has exacerbated the spread of second wave of COVID-19 pandemic', the governor's address said that the positivity rate rose from 3.32 per cent during the first phase of the polls to 33 per cent in the eighth and final phase.

Talking about the economic growth of the state, Dhankhar's speech, copies of which was circulated among the legislators, noted that between 2011 and 2020, Bengal's gross domestic product (GSDP) has increased by 2.7 times, tax revenue improved by 2.9 times, capital expenditure by 7.2 times and state plan expenditure by 5.9 times.

It added that the West Bengal government has effectively dealt with the crisis caused by tropical cyclones 'Amphan' and 'Yaas' that hit the state in 2020 and 2021 respectively. PTI AMR RMS RMS

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