Deepa Das Munshi at Bagdogra airport on Friday. Picture by Kundan Yolmo
Nov. 2: Deepa Das Munshi and Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, two of Mamata Banerjee’s persistent critics who are now Congress ministers, today slammed the state government on the trouble in Haldia port, with the Malda MP calling it a “shame for Bengal”.
Deepa, who landed in Bagdogra airport at 10am today, said there were “vested interests” at work in the port. She added that the group of activists that had gone to the port this afternoon to speak to workers, “should have gone there earlier”.
“Tader aaro agei jawa uchit chhilo.” She said: “If the group of rights activists do not speak out on the politics of vested interests in Haldia, then it will be obvious that the sending of this group was also a political manoeuvre.”
Like Deepa, who reached her constituency today, Abu Hasem reached Malda.
He told a news conference in Malda that the way three officials of Haldia Bulk Terminals were hounded out of the industrial town has “made us hang our heads in shame”. “Amader lajjay matha heth hoye gelo.”
“Development has come to a standstill in Bengal after Mamata Banerjee has come to power. There is infighting within the Trinamul Congress all over the state. The ABG Group (one of the co-promoters of mechanical cargo handler Haldia Bulk Terminals) was hounded out of Haldia. The manner in which the company’s officials were treated is a shame for Bengal,” Abu Hasem said.
The chief minister “is only trying to provide advantage to one of her party leaders by creating such problems”, said the new Union minister of state for health and family welfare.
“We have made Mamata Banerjee our chief minister. We had hoped better things from her. She is none better, if not worse than the Left Front. Within 16 months of coming to power she has been exposed, the mask has come off. The people of the state will have to think afresh,” Abu Hasem said.
Deepa also spoke on bringing the AIIMs-like hospital to Raiganj.
The Raiganj MP, who is the Union minister of state for urban development, said in Siliguri that the present minister of state for health (Abu Hasem) has been associated with our AIIMS campaign for long. “We need the land and we will find the way to get it by March next year.”
“The tradition of the government neglecting north Bengal continues as it was under the Left Front. We want to preserve the rich beauty and culture of the plains and the hills and do not want any Switzerland,” Deepa said at Bagdogra.
Mamata had on several occasions promised to transform the hills into “Switzerland.”
Speaking about the challenges that lay ahead, Deepa said: “We have to go to the people and implement central projects and highlight the programmes of the UPA government. I know that the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration is not getting central funds as the state is not releasing them. The chief minister should see to it that funds are released.”
Earlier, as Abu Hasem got off Gour Express around 6am, there was a tumultuous welcome arranged for him. A band played and Congress leaders flocked to the station.
Abu Hasem was taken to his Kotwali residence in a motorcade.