West Bengal governor lauds Mamata on R-Day

Kolkata, Jan 26 (IANS) Days after he rapped Mamata Banerjee's government for political clashes, West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan Saturday praised it for bringing about major changes in the state's law and order situation alongside development initiatives.

"The state government has been able to create an atmosphere of peace in Jangalmahal and Darjeeling hills. Several Maoists have surrendered and accepted the rehabilitation package offered by the government," Narayanan said in his Republic Day address here.

Units from the army, navy and air force took part in the parade showcasing battle tanks and other sophisticated weapons on the Indira Gandhi Sarani. The parade was attended by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, her ministers, bureaucrats and members of the diplomatic corps.

In his Republic Day address, Narayanan said: "The GTA (Gorkha Territorial Administration, new hill development body in the Darjeeling hills) has been constituted and has started functioning."

Talking about the new police commissionerates, human rights courts and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) courts set up by the state government, the governor said: "A decision has been taken to continue 151 fast track courts supported by the state exchequer, although the central government had discontinued them. As per direction of the Supreme Court, fast track courts are being accorded permanent status."

"To ensure timely justice to women, the state government will set up 45 mahila (women's) courts across the state. These courts would be presided over by women judges," he said.

Following clashes between the ruling Trinamool Congress and opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) activists in South 24-Parganas district's Bhangar earlier this month, Narayanan had said: "This is not a good political culture. I think some sort of goondaism is going on here."

Narayanan said that the state has received investment proposals of over Rs.1 lakh crore. "Many companies have shown an interest to invest... this will provide jobs to approximately three lakh people."

He said West Bengal's gross state domestic product (GSDP) grew by 8.08 percent in the first quarter of the current fiscal, While India's natyional GDP grew by 5.5 percent in the same period.

"The state's revenue has grown by an unprecedented quantum of 35 percent between April and September of last year due to introduction of e-governance in taxation," he said.

Revenue collection was Rs.31,000 crore in 2011-12 compared to Rs.21,000 crore in the previous year, Narayanan said.

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