The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rewards for Buddha’s red-mark districts

Calcutta, Sept. 8: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today admitted that spread of literacy has not been adequate in some districts.

Addressing a programme at Rabindra Sadan on the occasion of International Literacy Day, Bhattacharjee said the drive in Purulia and South 24-Parganas has not been up to the mark.

The chief minister’s own constituency, Jadavpur, is in South 24-Parganas.

“Women in Purulia continue to remain illiterate. We have so far been able to make 70 to 80 per cent people literate but our target is to achieve 100 per cent literacy. We will continue to feel guilty till we reach that target,” Bhattacharjee said.

Ironically, Purulia was awarded the “best organiser” prize for its literacy drive. South 24-Parganas received an award for organising “the best procession” on International Literacy Day.

Minister for mass education Nandarani Dal said the decision to reward Purulia was taken keeping in mind the progress of literacy missions in the district in the past decade. Higher education minister Satya Sadhan Chakraborty skirted the issue and spent time bashing the Centre. “They are trying to bring back the medieval age by mixing education with religion,” he said.

The chief minister said seven to eight lakh children in the state do not attend school. “We have to take a fresh initiative to develop in them the school-going habit. We will have to motivate parents,” he said.

Madarsa probe

The minorities’ commission will visit Hooghly Madarsa on Thursday to look into allegations that students were not allowed to use any of the computers provided by the government to the institution, one of the oldest in India.

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