AS THE indefinite strike over the demand of Gorkhaland entered its 16th day in the Hills, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said she will not allow the division of West Bengal. She also slammed the Centre for “provoking” the Gorkhaland issue after having failed to control the unrest in Kashmir.
“You cannot resolve the issue in Kashmir. There is unrest there and it shows the total failure of the government. Now, you are creating trouble in Darjeeling and want the division of Bengal. I will never allow the division of West Bengal. The state will not be divided. I have always spoken in favour of united India and this is my stand,” Mamata said while addressing a public meeting in East Burdwan.
“A dictatorship has been established in the country. No one has the guts to say this out of fear. But someone has to bell the cat. If I have to bell the cat, then I will do it because I am ready to face the consequences. There will be conspiracies against me but I will fight it,” she added.
Mamata also took on the Centre for introducing GST in a “hurried” manner and trying to “privatise” Air India, saying “we do not support this”.
The CM claimed that the Centre had “forced” the state government to bring an Ordinance on GST. “People are still suffering post demonetisation. I have said earlier that this (demonetisation) was more dangerous than Emergency. This was the biggest corruption in the country. After demonetisation, now there is GST. We were always in favour of GST. But the Centre forcefully changed a lot of things in GST. We had suggested to the central government to take some more time to properly implement GST. But it told us that if we do not bring an Ordinance or pass the GST Bill in state Assembly before July 19, the treasury of the state will cease to function. The Centre had forced us to bring an Ordinance on GST,” Mamata said.
On Wednesday, the CM had announced that her party, Trinamool Congress, will boycott the midnight rollout of GST on June 30, after describing it as the “epic blunder” of the Centre. “But we are always for the people. Trinamool is the only party in the country, which does not fear the CBI. We are not afraid to raise our voice and of the income tax raid. We only fear the people and no one else,” said Mamata.
On Air India, she said: “They are trying to sell Air India entirely. Air India is the nation’s pride. We don’t support this.”
The Union Cabinet, on Wednesday, had cleared disinvestment of the beleaguered national airline, Air India, which has floundered amid stiff competition from no-frills rivals and reported at least seven years of losses. “The Centre is also trying to shift the Tea Board of India headquarters from Kolkata. This is not acceptable,” the CM claimed.
Later, at an administrative review meeting, Mamata said strict action will be taken against anyone who will indulge in illegal sand and coal mining. “You have to keep a track of how many trucks are entering the mining area and how many among them were actually granted permission through tendering for the work. Install CCTV cameras and set up watch towers for surveillance,” she told district officials.
‘Killing in the name of gau raksha must stop’
Mamata on Wednesday condemned lynching of people in the name of cow protection, saying “just words are not enough”. “We condemn the killings taking place in the name of gau raksha. This must stop now. Just words not enough,” she tweeted.