Mamata Banerjee's Nandigram meeting on Jan 7 deferred: Bengal min

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Kolkata, Dec 28 (PTI) Trinamool Congress leader Subrata Mukherjee said Monday that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's public meeting in Nandigram on January 7, 2021 has been deferred due to indisposition of party MLA Akhil Giri.

Banerjee was scheduled to visit Nandigram in Purba Medinipur district, former TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari's home turf, on January 7, 2021 to hold the public meeting.

Mukherjee, also the state Rural Development minister, told reporters here, the meeting has not been cancelled.

'Since the TMC MLA who represents Ramnagar in Purba Medinipur is in hospital now, the meeting is being deferred.

It will be held on a later date', he added.

January 7 is observed by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) as 'sahid divas' in the honour of those who lost their lives during the fierce anti-land acquisition movement in 2007.

Reacting to the development, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said that the meeting has been cancelled due to the proposed meeting of the saffron party there on January 8.

After joining the BJP, Adhikari had announced that he would address a rally in Nandigram on January 8, a day after the chief minister's meeting.

Suvendu Adhikari who was a part of the Nandigram agitation in 2007 protesting against the erstwhile Left Front government's move to acquire land for a SEZ, has recently severed ties with the TMC and joined the BJP.

'From now on, all TMC meetings will be confined to Kalighat,' Ghosh said.

The chief minister's home is in south Kolkata's Kalighat area.

Regarding 'Duare Sarkar' (government at doorsteps) outreach campaign of the state government, Mukherjee said, it is a novel initiative which other states might be 'tempted to imitate'.

So far, the government has released Rs 7,800 crore for the purpose, he said.

The campaign was launched with an eye on the 2021 assembly elections to ensure that people avail the benefits of 11 state-run welfare schemes and also to hear out their grievances related to the programmes.

Speaking on the state's performance in 100-days work, he said, West Bengal has ranked number one in the country in terms of cash payment and quality of work.

The minister said, the state panchayat and rural development had allocated nearly Rs 21,000 crore for strengthening rural economy.

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), which offers 100 days of work in a year to rural households who seek employment, had helped those who had come to the state during lockdown as a result of reverse migration, Mukherjee said.

The TMC leader said, the state has been able to increase man-days by 27 per cent cent in West Bengal.

Replying to the criticism levelled by opposition parties about Mamata Banerjee's announcement to industrially develop Singur, he said, 'the chief minister was not against industrialisation per se. She only said a part of the large tract of land taken by the acquirer (West Bengal government for the Tatas) be kept for small and marginal farmers.

'If she was against industrialisation, she would not have gone overseas so many times and also held business meets here. The business proposals are being implemented in the state.' PTI dc MM MM