Deepa addresses the rally at Panishala on Thursday. Picture by Nantu Dey
Panishala (Raiganj), Oct. 11: Deepa Das Munshi, who is leading the movement to build an AIIMS-like hospital in Raiganj, today told a rally that the people who want to give land for the facility were the “true faces of development”, not the chief minister, who was “ignoring them”.
“We cut off the road link between south and north Bengal for three hours today as thousands of people who want the hospital to come up in north Bengal have gathered here to show Mamata Banerjee their aspiration. This is only a trailer of our movement. The state government should brace for the entire movie,” Deepa told a crowd of around 30,000 people at Panishala, 9km from here.
Panishala is the place where a Central team had inspected land in 2010 and green-lighted the project.
Representatives of 25 of the 87 families who are willing to give up their land for the facility were present at the rally. They wore placards that said: “Amra jomi dite ichhuk chashi, manuser mukhe phutuk hanshi. Priyo-dar swapna sotyi howa chai, Raiganj-e AIIMS chai. (We are willing farmers who want to bring smile on the faces of people, we want Priya Ranjan Das Munshi’s dream to come true, we want AIIMS in Raiganj.)”
Deepa thanked the supporters, “especially those who have come forward to sell their land”. “These are the people who are the true faces of development in Bengal. But unfortunately, the chief minister is ignoring them. Her only stubborn goal is to malign me and weaken the Congress in north Bengal. I want to warn her, what she is doing will bring down the number of her MLAs from 19 to one,” Deepa said.
“Our final phase of the movement will begin soon after Durga Puja and Id,” she said.
PCC president Pradip Bhattacharya said the facility would come up only in Raiganj. “That is my first and last word. The PCC will throw all its weight to have the AIIMS-like facility here and here alone. Mamata Banerjee has turned an easy task into a controversy for her own petty reasons. If we have the facility here, there will be an economic revolution in north Bengal. She should not forget our support that got her MLAs and MPs elected,” Bhattacharya said.
Akhtarul Imam, the RJD MLA from Bihar’s Kishenganj, 80km away, said his party supported the Bengal Congress. Imam and the Congress MP from Kishenganj, Haji Ashraful Haq, said they were grateful to Deepa for her support to their movement to get a campus of the Aligarh Muslim University in Kishenganj.
“We are grateful to her and we are eagerly waiting for the hospital to come up in Raiganj as it will immensely benefit the people of Bihar,” the Haji said.
The district president of the Congress in Nadia, Shankar Singh, said: “Mamata Banerjee has announced the construction of super-speciality hospitals. But the existing ones still lie neglected and without crucial facilities. Let her rectify that instead of playing politics with the sentiments of the people of north Bengal.”
With over 100 buses and mini-trucks being used to ferry Congress supporters to the rally, traffic on NH34 came to a standstill for around three hours from 12.30pm.