Monday, 30th October 2017

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Mamata returns Modi’s development fire

PM stalled coal project, she said

  • Published 26.04.19, 1:14 AM
  • Updated 26.04.19, 1:22 AM
  • 2 mins read
Mamata Banerjee with Anubrata Mondal at a rally in Suri on Thursday. Picture by Indrajit Roy

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of delaying a game-changing coal project in Birbhum with an investment potential of Rs 12,000 crore despite “50” calls from her to the Centre to “sign an MoU”.

Mamata’s reference to the Deocha-Panchami coal block — touted as the world’s second largest with estimated reserves of 2.1 billion tonnes — follows the Prime Minister’s claims that development projects have stopped in Bengal. Modi had repeated the claim last at a rally in Birbhum’s Illambazar on Wednesday.

“Narendra Modi did not take initiatives to sign an MoU in the past three years. The work on the coalmine, which has an investment potential of Rs 12,000 crore, could have been started three years ago if the MoU was signed,” Mamata told a rally in Birbhum’s Suri.

“Thousands of youths could have worked here by this time. But you (Modi) don’t want to give anything to Bengal and your officials did not sign the MoU following your instructions,” Mamata added.

The chief minister said she had called the officials of the Union coal ministry 50 times, only to be told the Prime Minister was looking into the matter himself. “…..I have called 50 times and talked (to ministry officials). Whenever I asked them about the project, they said the Prime Minister had stopped the process. Now, you (Modi) are asking what Mamata Banerjee has done?” the chief minister said.

Sources in Nabanna said the chief minister was perhaps referring to the Centre’s approval for the block, allotted to Bengal in June 2018.

Sources said while the mining plan for the block — allotted to the state-run West Bengal Power Development Corporation Ltd — must be approved by the Centre, the state had to complete some formalities too. “The plan includes details like mine demarcation, topography… I came to know the demarcation, to be done by the state, is yet to be completed,” said a source.

‘Tiger cub’ 

Anubrata Mamata has asked Birbhum Trinamul chief Anubrata Mondal to “fight like a tiger cub”, saying the Election Commission “will disturb him like earlier because everything is being controlled from the BJP office”.

“Kesto (as Mondal is known), they will keep a watch on you. They will threaten you as everything is being controlled from the BJP office. This was done last time. But you should fight like a tiger cub. You should fight taking people with you. Don’t misbehave with anybody,” Mamata told Mondal, 61, in Suri on Thursday.

Additional reporting by Pinak Ghosh in Calcutta