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Mamata Banerjee Hits Out At Centre On New NMP Scheme

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP do not own the country’s assets, and they cannot sell them at their whims and fancies, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday, criticising the Centre’s National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) scheme. The Trinamool Congress supremo described the NMP as a “shocking and unfortunate decision,” alleging that the money collected from the sale of those assets would be used to smear opposition parties during elections. “These assets belong to the country. It is the property of neither Modi nor the BJP. They (central government) can’t just sell a country’s assets as per their whims and fancies,”at the state secretariat Nabanna, Banerjee told reporters.

She stated that the entire country will unite to reject this “anti-people” action. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) on Monday, which will seek to unlock value in infrastructure assets spanning sectors including as power, roads, and railroads.

“The BJP should be ashamed. No one has given them the right to sell our nation’s assets,” Banerjee said. In response to the claims, the BJP’s West Bengal unit questioned how the TMC dictatorship could sell state government assets while being so concerned about national assets. “If it was so concerned about nation’s assets, why has the TMC government sold several assets belonging to the state in the last 10 years? Who owned those assets… the TMC or the state government? The TMC should first answer this,” BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said.

Banerjee also criticized a segment of the saffron party’s leaders for calling for the state to be “divided.” “The BJP has lost the assembly polls, but still their central leaders are travelling to Bengal like daily passengers. Now, they want to divide our state. It would be opposed tooth and nail,” she stated

Jojn Barla, a state BJP MP who was admitted into the Union council of ministers last month, had proposed a separate union territory for all of north Bengal’s districts in June, claiming that the region had experienced no progress in the last decade. Following Barla’s demand, another BJP MP, Saumitra Khan, demanded statehood for the Jangalmahal region of Paschim Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia districts which includes hilly forested areas.

Banerjee responded to claims in the media that central teams were visiting various regions of the state to check on the development of central initiatives by saying that the centre should not deploy teams without telling the state administration. “Parliamentary Committees can come, but the centre sends some people without informing us…. In several sectors, including 100 days’ work, skill development and Awas Yojana (housing scheme), the state is number one,” she stated

Banerjee announced plans to build 20 lakh houses for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) people across West Bengal in the next five years while chairing the West Bengal Scheduled Caste Advisory Council meeting. “Our government is committed to the welfare of the ST, SC community. We have taken several steps for their development. The budget for SC/ST welfare has been increased by six times since we came to power in 2011,” she stated.

Drones will be used to take overhead photographs to determine how many people live in kutcha houses that need to be rebuilt and how many pucca houses need to be built in each district, according to the chief minister. She also stated that her government plans to host a West Bengal Dalit Sahitya Academy convention later this year, at which delegates from various states will attend and exchange ideas on the growth of the SC and ST communities.

She also told the police to be especially cautious and to respond quickly to any concerns concerning the state’s security and safety for SC and ST persons. “The police must take stern and swift action against those who will be involved in crimes against SC/ST people,” she said.

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