Darjeeling: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday asked state Sports minister Arup Biswas to formulate a new sports policy to support outstanding sportspersons.
The Chief Minister also handed over a cheque of Rs 10 lakh to the mother of Heptathlon queen Swapna Barman at a Government programme in Darjeeling and assured a government job to her brother Asit Barman.
Swapna Barman, the daughter of a van-rickshaw puller from Jalpaiguri, became the first Indian to win an Asian Games gold medal in the Heptathlon event recently.
Her father Panchanan Barman was a van-rickshaw puller but had to give up his job after he suffered a major stroke and is bedridden. Her mother Basana Barman also gave up her job as a daily wage worker at a tea garden to look after her husband.
The whole family survives on the meager earnings of Asit Barman who works as a mason. The Chief Minister had invited the family to attend the Government programme in Darjeeling on Wednesday.
"My father could not come as he is bedridden and cannot travel," Asit Barman told Millennium Post. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee handed over a cheque of Rs 10 lakh to Basana Barman. "We will give Swapna a job if she wants. Basana Barman requested that we give her son a job. I have asked Tourism minister Goutam Deb to see that he is provided with a job in the Tourism department," stated Banerjee. She assured that her government will provide all necessary support to sportspersons. "We had honoured Swapna with Bongoratna Award in 2013. I have asked state Sports minister Arup Biswas to formulate a new sports policy to support famous sports persons of Bengal," stated Banerjee.
She announced that an "Asian Cultural Festival" will be held in Darjeeling in 2019.
"This will promote Darjeeling as different Asian countries will take part in the cultural fest," added the Chief Minister.
She stressed on the need of new tourist spots and home stays in the Hills. "From now on, the different development and cultural boards in the hills, along with giving house construction funds will also give funds to upgrade existing houses to make them fit for staying. This will help generate livelihood in the Hills as well as promote tourism," stated Banerjee. Forest Rights documents were handed over to 431 beneficiaries from different forest villages of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts.