Justifying state-wide development works that are being carried out extensively through administrative meetings in the districts, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it has created a precedence in the country's recent history.
"So far, 160 administrative meetings have been organised in the districts where senior bureaucrats like the Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary take part along with junior block level officers that have helped to expedite work," the Chief Minister said after inaugurating Uttirno, a multi-facility cultural complex on Reformatory Street in South Kolkata.
Appreciating her bureaucrats as "the best in the state, country and even in the world," she said "we all work as a family". She added that to curtail expenditure, all the senior officials travel in a Volvo bus to visit the districts instead of using their official vehicles.
"We sometimes travel by train to go to the districts like a family," she added. The state observed the Civil Services Day, 2017, for the first time. She said the "bureaucrats are all part of Bengal government's family." She also thanked the family members of the officials for extending unflinching support.
After coming to power in 2011, Banerjee decided to hold meetings in the districts and took all senior officials along with her.
This has helped in completing various projects as the field officers could narrate their difficulties they faced and the problems automatically got resolved on the spot.
Banerjee further added that the state needed more IAS and IPS officers. "Just as we need more doctors and engineers, we need more IAS and IPS officers to implement the policies of the government. Without them, no development work is possible."
It may be recalled that after coming to power in 1977, the then Chief Minister Jyoti Basu had declared that the state government would not depend on IAS and IPS officers and would function with officers of the state cadre. The decision proved to be disastrous. Soon, there was an acute shortage of bureaucrats and one officer had to look after more than one department. Students from Bengal, even the brightest ones, lost interest to sit for Civil Services Examination and their number started diminishing in all-India examinations conducted by UPSC.
Banerjee said a building called "Soujanya" would be constructed in Hastings. Uttirno has an amphitheatre where nearly 2,000 can be accommodated. There are seminar halls and conference rooms as well.
Referring to background of the structure's construction, she said: "I have a bad habit of seeing the world around while travelling in the car. I do not fall asleep. There was a jungle here. So, I told Sovan Chattopadhyay, Aroop (Biswas) that something should be done here. The idea of constructing an amphitheatre came to our mind. Just as people go to see Eco Park in New Town and the International Convention Centre there which will be opened before the Pujas, people will throng to see this building too. The reformatories will be shifted to Puddapukur and there will be more space to set up cultural centres."
Banerjee said the state government had gone digital much before the Central government. "But in 716 villages, there are no banks and post offices and the District Magistrates have to send cash for the workers engaged in 100 days work. If it does not rain, then can I beat up the sky," she asked.
She said the state government was giving free service to patients in state run hospitals and giving scholarships to carry on with their studies. "We want to see Bengal going to the top and becoming number 1 in the world."