Way forward from COVID-19: Mamata Banerjee chalks out development programmes ahead

COVID-19 has not only dealt a severe blow to the country’s economy, development projects have also suffered a setback for several months. The Amphan cyclone has made matters worse in some areas of West Bengal, especially the Sunderbans.

However, with the crucial Assembly elections ahead in 2021, the last thing West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee wants is development programmes not achieving the set targets.

She held a meeting at the state administrative headquarters Nabanna with district administrative heads over videoconference on Monday, to chalk the path ahead. She reviewed and laid down the targets before district magistrates, district police chiefs, police commissioners, zilla parishad elected representatives on Monday, along with chief secretary Rajiva Sinha. Principal secretaries of all the departments were also present with her to review their respective projects.

Banerjee reviewed the COVID-19 situation and asked the districts with more cases to ensure measures are taken to reduce the spread. However, her chief focus of today’s meeting was development projects, including road, dam building, distribution of bicycles under various schemes to the poor, free ration distribution and so on. She asked the district administration to ensure road repairs are started as soon as the monsoon is over, so that roads can look better by Durga Puja.

Banerjee mentioned yet again in today’s meeting that Rs 53,000 crore is due to West Bengal from the Central government and that Bengal got only Rs 1,000 crore as relief following cyclone Amphan. More funds were due under GST to the state, she said, and rued that the state government was having a tough time handling the COVID-19 situation along with relief for Amphan and other development projects, but was still being brutally criticised.

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