Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said her government would give jobs to the next of kin of two persons who allegedly died due to cash shortage following demonetisation. She also attacked the Centre for crippling cooperative banks, which are considered to be the lifeline of Bengal’s agrarian economy.
During a discussion in the Assembly, the chief minister said the son of a deceased in Kalna will get a job in the Panchayat department, while a family member of another deceased from Behala will also be given a job. “There are no banks in 92 per cent of villages, and they are giving lectures on mobiles and digital things,” the chief minister said, adding co-operative banks everywhere have stopped functioning.
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The Centre had previously sanctioned a credit of Rs 300 crore for state cooperative banks when operations had come to a virtual halt. But the state government has consistently maintained that this is a mere fraction of what is required, which is estimated to be around Rs 1,000 crore. The 3,000-odd cooperative bank branches in the state have neither been able to offer loans to their customers, mostly farmers, nor exchange demonetised notes as they are not getting enough funds from lead banks (public sector banks), which have been struggling to service their own clients.
She flayed the Centre for not giving funds for “Khadya Suraksha” scheme under the National Food Security Act, despite the state government writing letters twice. To give relief to farmers from middlemen and agencies who don’t pay them their dues, she said the government has now decided to make a time-frame for payment of such dues.
On the formation of new districts, Mamata said in the first phase they will have Asansol, Jhargram and Kalimpong, while in the next phase other new districts like Sundarbans will be made. “Institutional delivery has increased in Sundarbans from 55-60 per cent to 89-90 per cent now,” she said, adding that throughout the state they will recruit 6,000 additional doctors and nurses besides allowing private doctors to work part-time in government facilities.