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Mamata Banerjee distributes winter clothes and projects over Rs 620 cr

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee unveiled development projects worth Rs 620 crore and distributed winter clothes to the beneficiaries

Ending her three-day hurricane tour of West Bengal’s remotest riverine villages bordering Bangladesh, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday flew back to Kolkata after unveiling a slew of projects worth over Rs 620 crore, which is being considered as a strategic move to woo voters ahead of next year’s panchayat polls across the state. Banerjee’s trip to Shamsernagar village, about 85 km southeast of Kolkata, is the first by any chief minister of the eastern state since independence.

She unveiled development projects on Tuesday and distributed winter garments personally to the beneficiaries. In her address, Banerjee told the beneficiaries that she brought 15,000 pieces of winter clothes – 5000, sweaters, 5000 blankets, and as many shawls from Kolkata to distribute among them, but the bulk of the stock was kept in the BDO office. Angry over the issue, she stopped addressing the gathering for about 20 minutes and began distributing herself when 1000 pieces of winter clothes were made available there. She also ordered the officials to distribute the entire stock by Tuesday itself at the Kalitala village by setting up camps, to be headed by state forest minister Jyotipriya Mallick and the district magistrate.

“I want to reach the fruits of the development to the people’s home and whoever comes in between would face action,” she told the gathering amid wide applause from the villagers, the majority of them women. Before addressing the people at Kalitala locality of Shamsernagar village under the Hingalganj subdivision, Banerjee offered puja at the straw roof temple of “Bonobibi” and later assured the devotees that her government would erect a concrete structure to make the area a pilgrimage spot.

After a night stay at Taki, Ms. Banerjee on Wednesday took a launch trip on the Ichamati River, which divides India and Bangladesh, and surveyed the banks of parts of Sundarbans and nearby localities to understand the damage caused by erosion, an official, who accompanied the chief minister, said. Banerjee, whose ministry has decided to make the Sundarbans a separate district, said her government would send a master plan to the Union government for financial support to protect, erosion, and safeguard the mangrove area in the delta on the Indian side of the Sundarbans, which is spread over the districts of South and North 24 Parganas.

Thereafter, she traveled to another remote village Khanpukur Ghat under the Hasnabad block and distributed soft toys to the kids and then talked to the local people to assess their problems. They informed her they want supplies of drinking water the most and improvement of the road condition. Banerjee readily assured them that these would be done. The Chief Minister also had lunch of rice, fish curry, and arum, as she asked the villagers at an irregular hour of 3 pm to provide her with some food out of whatever they had. Then she returned to Taki at dusk on road after addressing the students at the Taki school.

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