West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday stalled a programme in North 24 Parganas, and pulled up the district magistrate over his failure to bring to the venue blankets and winter garments she brought for distribution among locals.
Banerjee, in the presence of locals, asked District Magistrate Sharad Dwivedi to make arrangements to bring the garments to the venue at the earliest.
Thousands of people had gathered at Hingalganj for the programme, organised for doling out government scheme benefits and caste certificates.
“I’ve brought 15,000 winter garments, blankets for locals. Where have you kept them? Bring them to me immediately. I’ll not continue with the programme till you get those… I’ll wait here," Banerjee told Dwivedi.
The CM, who is in the district on a two-day visit, also warned the DM, and other officials of stern action for such lapses.
“I came here to give you winter garments, I have not come for any meeting… I’m sorry, but I’ll have to take action in case the DM and block development officers don’t carry out their responsibilities properly," she added.
Around 15 minutes later, arrangements were made to bring blankets to the venue.
The CM then announced that she would be distributing 1,000 shawls among local women.
However, shortly after the announcement, thousands of women and children were seen running towards the dais on which Banerjee was standing, managing to sneak through the police cordon. “There was some confusion initially, but the situation was brought under control soon,” Basirhat SP Joby Thomas said.
Banerjee also said that on Wednesday, the local administration will organise camps to distribute the winter garments.
“In case more winter clothes are needed, I will make arrangements for that. But, everybody must get one,” the chief minister said.
Banerjee assured people of the region of improving infrastructure, with her government set to create Sundarbans as a district “soon”.
“I am also setting up ‘susasthya’ (health) centres in areas like Hingalganj, Sandeshkhali, Minakha to reduce hardship of those residing in these places,” she said.
Banerjee said in order to stop erosion in Sundarbans, the state government has chalked out a master plan, which would be submitted to the Centre.
“We have already planted 15 crore mangroves and ‘gheti grass’ for the development of the banks of rivers,” she said.
The CM urged people present at the programme to enlist their names on the voter list, even if they don’t have Aadhaar cards.
Earlier in the day, Banerjee offered prayers to local deity ‘Bonobibi’ at a temple here and planted a tree.
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