To stem brain drain from West Bengal, Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday appealed to the youths of the state to come and work in Bengal after finishing studies. Speaking at a programme — ‘Khelashree’ — during which the state government felicitated sportspersons and also handed over financial grants to clubs, Mamata said: “There may be more money outside, but the cost of food and lodging for a student is also high outside. I will ask them (the youths) that after finishing your studies abroad, return to your country and to Bengal. There are a lot of job opportunities here. Stay with your parents here.”
“We have showcased Bengal as an investment destination. We are looking forward to huge investments here. Some investments had already poured in. There are job opportunities and more are being created. In the past six years, we have created 81 lakh jobs in the state,” she said at Netaji Indoor Stadium here.
Speaking about the budget of sports and youth affairs department, the chief minister said that from Rs 74 crore in 2011, the budget has increased to over Rs 400 crore. Mamata said that the government is doing its best to nurture sports in the state despite fund constraint. She said that 19 new stadiums have been constructed in the state after the Trinamool Congress came in power. The chief minister also said that FIFA was happy over the arrangements made by the government during the Under-17 World Cup held in Kolkata last year.
“There was rainfall in Assam and they said one of the matches could not be hosted there. Within 12 hours, everything was arranged for the match in Kolkata. FIFA appreciated our arrangements. We will request them to allow us to host the Under-19 World Cup,” she said.
Announcing that former sports personalities in the state will be brought under the government health scheme ‘Swastha Sathi’, Mamata said: “They will be entitled to treatment of upto Rs 5 lakh in any private hospital in a year.”
At the programme, the chief minister handed over Rs 2 lakh each to 15,000 clubs. On the role of the clubs, Mamata said they should drive away miscreants and maintain peace, besides participating in development of their areas.
“I have given Rs 2 Lakh each to 15,000 clubs, later they will get Rs 3 Lakh. So, we are giving Rs 5 lakh to each club to develop infrastructure and sports-related activities in their areas,” she said. Stressing on ‘para culture’, Mamata said: “Someone told me that I live in a small neighbourhood. There are security risks. I replied where will I find such good sweets? I have lost my mother, but there are elderly women like my mother who wait near my home to meet and talk to me.”
The chief minister rued the fact that there is an increasing number of lonely senior citizens in the state. “Why will parents be sent to old age homes? Why will the neighbourhood people not help each other during marriage functions or when someone dies in a family? We need our neighbourhood culture,” she said.