Khela Hobe Divas being planned to remember football fans killed 40 years ago: Mamata

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Kolkata, Jul 22 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said that the state government will observe the 'Khela Hobe Divas' on August 16 in memory of the football lovers who were killed during a match in Kolkata around 40 years ago and those distorting its significance do not understand the value of sports.

Banerjee declared that the 'Lakshmir Bhandar' scheme aimed at providing financial assistance to women heads of families will start from September 1.

She also announced a sand mining policy and launched a portal to help school teachers seeking transfer.

'To remember the sports lovers killed on that day, we have chosen August 16 which is next to Independence day as the Khela Hobe (game will happen) Divas,' the chief minister said.

Sixteen spectators were killed in a stampede and riot during a Calcutta Football League match between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan clubs in the Eden Gardens on August 16, 1980. 'Those distorting its significance do not comprehend the spirit of sports and the value of sportsmanship,' she said.

BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta earlier tweeted 'Interesting @MamataOfficial has declared August 16 as “Khela hobe divas”. It is the day the Muslim League launched its Direct Action Day $@$# began the Great Calcutta Killings in 1946. In today’s West Bengal, “Khela Hobe” has come to symbolise a wave of terror attacks on opponents.

The ''Kela Hobe'' slogan of the TMC had become immensely popular during the high-octane campaigning of the assembly election held earlier this year.

'To uphold the spirit of freedom, to save independence from being threatened, the Khela Hobe Divas will be observed across the state when one lakh footballs will be distributed by the state youth affairs and sports department,' she said.

While addressing the TMC annual Martyrs' Day rally on Wednesday, she announced that the state government would observe 'Khela Hobe Divas' on August 16 every year.

The chief minister also announced that the 'Lakshmir Bhandar' scheme will be launched from September 1 for women heads of families not employed in private or government offices.

Under the programme, the state government has promised to provide Rs 1,000 per month to women heads of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and OBC families, and Rs 500 per month to those belonging to the general category.

Banerjee declared a sand mining policy to check the menace of illegal mining bringing it under centralised control.

'Under the centralised system, the chief secretary and finance secretary will keep a tab on the matter. We won't allow the loot of local resources,' she said.

The chief minister said that the 'Duare Sarkar' camp will again be held in August to help people get various social welfare schemes including the 'Lakshmir Bhandar'. PTI SUS NN NN

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