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'Cha Sundari', dev work to give TMC edge in Alipurduar

Cha Sundari, dev work to give TMC edge in Alipurduar
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Alipurduar: 'Cha Sundari'project—the brainchild of Mamata Banerjee—will give Trinamool Congress an edge over its arch rivals in Alipurduar district, situated in the foothills. The scheme, which ensures construction of 'pucca' houses for homeless tea garden workers—and other development works carried out in the tourism sector by the TMC government in the past 10 years will pay rich dividends to the party in the ongoing Assembly polls, opined political analysts.

At the same time, 'resentment' brewing among people against BJP for not fulfilling pre-poll assurances in the district where they had managed to take leads in all the five constituencies - Kumargram, Kalchini, Alipurduar, Falakata and Madarihat - in the last Lok Sabha polls, has also cropped up as a crucial factor in the district, in which around 12.45 lakh people would cast vote on April 10.

Apart from the nine towns, the district—that was carved out of Jalpaiguri in 2014 by Mamata Banerjee government for better administration— is mostly covered with deep forest of Dooars and tea gardens especially in the areas including Madarihat, Birpara, Falakata, Kalchini and Kumargram.

The main means of livelihood in the peaceful hamlets of Alipurduar are tea cultivation, tourism and trade related to forests. People in the district were found aware of the issues related to NRC and CAA. "We have witnessed what happened in Assam. We are a bit apprehensive," said a local resident Manish Barman.

Besides, development projects, TMC is likely to bag people's support for the Mamata Banerjee-led government having given jobs to KLO activists, who returned to the mainstream, and extending support to workers of closed tea gardens. These issues have become crucial in the poll-bound district where Trinamool Congress candidates are campaigning door-to-door.

Trinamool Congress had bagged all the four Assembly seats in the district in 2016 Assembly elections except Madarihat. BJP's Manoj Tigga had won in Madarihat. "But the situation this time is completely different. Chief Minister's Duare Sarkar touched the lives of every resident. This election is for development and nothing else. There is no government better than ours in ensuring overall development," said Sourav Chakraborty, Trinamool Congress candidate from Alipurduar Assembly constituency.

While addressing at Kalchini in Alipurduar, Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee attacked BJP saying that their MP did not turn up to support people after winning election two years back.

Suniti, a tea garden worker, said she has always dreamt of a pacca house but never thought that it would come true. Construction of the pacca house also indirectly gives land rights to the beneficiaries, which comes as a social security for them. Each of the houses consist of two bed rooms, one kitchen, one common room, one toilet and one toilet and the state government has already sanctioned Rs 210 crore to build the houses each of which measures around 385 square feet. Each of the houses is coming up at a cost of Rs 5.90 lakh.

There are also several pockets at Kumargram with a heavy Gorkha population. Trinamool Congress would also get a dividend from these pockets as well in this election. Gorkha leader Bimal Gurung has been campaigning for Trinamool Congress in these areas. People from the Rajbangshi community too are also found appreciating the moves taken by the Mamata Banerjee government for their community.

BJP, however, refuted the allegation of not remaining with people since the last Lok Sabha polls and also claimed of performing well in the district.

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