In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her dissatisfaction with the Centre’s move to transfer the supervisory role of state cooperative banks from the state government to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
So far, the RBI was overseeing the banks’ capital adequacy, risk control, and lending norms, while the management responsibilities were entrusted to the Registrar of Cooperative Societies, which is a state government agency.
In the letter, Banerjee said the registrar’s supervisory role and management responsibilities should be restored. The Centre’s June 26 ordinance took away the government body’s supervisory powers in a “unilateral” manner, she added. The CM said the cooperative societies were a state subject, and the Centre’s move infringed upon the state government’s powers.
Meanwhile, Banerjee also wrote to NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar, requesting the formation of an interdisciplinary team to initiate preparations for a masterplan for the Sundarbans. The UNESCO World Heritage site has been wrecked by cyclones in recent years, the latest being Cyclone Amphan that made landfall on May 20.
In the letter to Kumar, Banerjee said 50 lakh people live in the Sundarbans, and pointed out that it has the world’s largest single block of mangrove forests. The forests received the worst battering “in living memory” during Cyclone Amphan, she added.
“I would like to request NITI Aayog to kindly commission the preparation of a Master Plan by an interdisciplinary team of experts covering all aspects of socio-economic development of this ecologically fragile region,” said the Chief Minister.
A central team had visited certain Amphan-ravaged villages in the Sunderbans in early June to assess the extensive damage.
Banerjee said the latest trail of devastation was a reminder of the need for a “systematic review of the multiple challenges faced by the Sunderbans”, and “calls for a scientifically designed development package for its protection and balanced socio-economic development”.
Any review of the manifold challenges faced by the Sunderbans would require a pool of experts drawn from different disciplines, and technical assistance from international multilateral bodies, said the Chief Minister, adding, “It will also require funding support from the government of India.”
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