From December 1, West Bengal will launch an initiative to take government services to the doorsteps of people. ‘Duare Duare Sarkar’ or government at the doorstep. That’s the name of the initiative that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced at Khatra in Bankura district today. To run till Gandhi Jayanti on January 30, the initiative will try and deliver pending services to people.
“From 11 am to 3 pm every day from December 1, government camps will be held in every block in the state where people can come and demand any service they have not received yet. We will try and provide it right away. If that is not possible, names of all applicants will be listed and the services delivered perhaps to 10 people at a time,” Ms Banerjee said.
The new scheme met with criticism from state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh. “Just before elections, you remember adivasis (tribals) and jangalmahal (that includes tribal dominated districts of Bankura, Purulia, West Midnapore and Jhargram). People have understood such announcements are being made just for the polls. She is talking about education for adivasi girls now. What was she doing for 10 years?”
Ms Banerjee announced 100 per cent scholarship for adivasi students and promised housing to those who haven’t got one yet, among other services. The administration was also asked to speed up distribution of bicycles under the Sabuj Sathi scheme.
Ms Banerjee said in many central projects, young people got jobs but once the scheme had run its course, then everything shut down and they became jobless. “I met several young people who told me this. But in Bengal, there has not been a single such case in the case of state-run schemes,” she said.
“They take our money and send a percentage back. For 100 days work, money comes in 3 months. Why? People should get it within 7 days. I have never cut jobs. I have increased age limit for job application eligibility. In the country, unemployment has increased by 49 per cent. We have reduced it by 40 per cent in Bengal,” Ms Banerjee said.
The new scheme and Ms Banerjee’s focus on development work in Bankura and the neighbouring district is being viewed as a reaction to Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit on November 5 to Bankura, where he ate at the home of a Dalit family and garlanded a tribal hunter’s statue. The latter has since turned controversial as the statue was thought to have been that of Birsa Muna, the tribal freedom fighter who was hanged to death at age 25 in the year 1900.