Mamata on fresh round of district tours with top officials

Kolkata, Sep 14 (IANS) After her party's massive win in the West Bengal panchayat poll, it is now back to the districts for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as she sets her eyes on next year's general elections.

Banerjee is aiming for a large chunk of seats from the state in the Lok Sabha poll, which would make her party a big player in national politics provided none of the major combinations - the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and the Bharatiya Janata Party-headed National Democratic Alliance - gains a majority.

Having bagged the zilla parishads (the upper tier of the three-rung panchayat or rural body system in the state) in 13 of the 17 districts in the recent elections, Banerjee feels her frequent tours to the districts to review progress of development schemes has paid handsome dividends for the party.

During these tours that started months after she took office in May, 2011, Banerjee took along with her top bureaucrats and senior ministers and held lengthy review meetings at the district headquarters to pinpoint shortcomings in time-bound implementation of schemes and pull up officials for laggardness.

"We have decided to bring the secretariat to the districts for better planning and implementation," Banerjee said earlier when she started her district visits.

The meetings were followed by public rallies where the chief minister tom tommed the government's "success stories", inaugurated or laid the foundations for development schemes and announced new projects. She would also distribute cycles among school girls, and hand over scholarships to students, carts to vegetable vendors, land deeds to poor peasants and kisan credit cards.

The latest round of Banerjee's district trips started from North 24 Parganas on Sep 10.

After the monitoring work, Banerjee addressed a public meeting at the Barasat district headquarters.

She explained that she conducted such meetings to make the people aware of government initiatives "to help them raise their heads high and live life better".

"The government is working for the people, who must be aware of the facilities that are being made available to them. ``

Her next port of call was Sarisha in South 24 Parganas district, where she announced the government would provide identity cards to fishermen living in the coastal villages. The chief minister also threw open a shelter home for the cyclone-affected people and a Hilsa research centre to ensure the state moves towards "self-sufficiency" in production of the popular fish.

Banerjee's next destination was Howrah. Apart from the administrative meeting, she addressed a public meeting at Panchla, announcing her government's decisions to improve the transport system, the health facilities, and the industrial scenario in the district.

On Friday, the chief minister went to East Midnapore district.

At a rally in Kolaghat, she complained about the central government not giving clearance to a proposed eco-tourism hub at Nayachar, and appealed to New Delhi for immediate go-ahead for the project.

The chief minister announced that her government would take up development projects on a "war footing".

"We have to do this so that the people understand that we not only make promises, but also implement them in reality," she said.

Banerjee has promised to cover 10 districts before next month's Durga Puja festival.

(Sirshendu Panth can be contacted at s.panth@ians.in)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have been able to purchase batting replacements for the loss of Michael Hussey and spin reinforcements in the form of Samuel Badree. They appear… More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »