Mamata Banerjee at the Cooch Behar Rajbari Stadium on Wednesday before flagging off north Bengal’s first Shatabdi Express. Picture by Sanat Kumar Sinha
Cooch Behar, July 11: Mamata Banerjee today announced several projects for Cooch Behar’s progress, the key among them being a university for which she laid the foundation stone and a medical college, which would be the first in Cooch Behar district.
Both were long-standing demands of local residents.
The chief minister, while making the announcements, also said that there was a “conspiracy” against Bengal’s development. “There can be endless conspiracies against Bengal but nobody can stop the state’s development. However hard they try to cause harm to the state, Bengal cannot be stopped,” she said.
Mamata did not name the Congress-led UPA government, which is yet to give its nod to the state’s demand for a three-year moratorium on debt repayment. Nor did she refer to the CPM, the party whose government she blames for the state’s dismal fiscal situation and which has refused to join an all-party delegation to knock on the Centre’s door with the state’s demands.
After laying the foundation stone of the Cooch Behar Panchanan Burma University, which would have under it 16 colleges in Cooch Behar and seven in Alipurduar, Mamata mentioned the plan for a medical college at Raja Jagatdipendranarayan TB Hospital, a jute industry hub, polytechnic colleges at Tufangunj and Mathabhanga, 10 ITIs across the district, of which two will come up at Dinhata and Mekhligunj.
Mamata said the government was working on a proposal to bifurcate Jalpaiguri, Burdwan and West Midnapore districts.
“Alipurduar would be carved out of Jalpaiguri as a separate district as will be Jhargram from West Midnapore and Asansol from Burdwan. We are in the final stages of decision-making. By November, the bifurcation process would be completed,” Mamata said.
“There was nothing in Cooch Behar. We have started (work here) and there will be more. We don’t have money but we have the temperament to work. We will bring about development in Bengal. It’s a challenge,” she said.
Last week, the Assembly had passed the bill on the formation of a new university at Cooch Behar. The Cooch Behar Panchanan Burma university is the second university in the region after North Bengal University in Siliguri.
“We will make efforts for the academic session to start from the next year. The education minister, the chief secretary, the home secretary, the district magistrate and the superintendent of police, everyone will try to ensure that the university starts functioning from next year,” Mamata said.
Earlier in the day, during a meeting with government officials, Mamata stressed on preparing a plan to meet any flood-like situation. Overnight rain had left large parts of Cooch Behar town inundated. “We have instructed the BDOs what steps to take in case of a flood,” Mamata said.
Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association leader Banshibadan Barman, who was released by the Mamata Banerjee government, tried to meet the chief minister in Cooch Behar but could not. “We couldn’t reach Cooch Behar in time from Dinhata. We have been asked to meet her in Writers’ Buildings,” Barman said.