Two square meals every day along with peace, road connectivity, drinking water and electricity for the tribals will help the Trinamool Congress to go much ahead of its competitors in the upcoming Assembly elections.
Vast areas of Purulia, Bankura and Junglemahal that will go for election on April 4 were famous for their notoriety.
During the Left Front regime between 2006-11, around 350 people including 250 policemen and CPI(M) cadres were killed by the Maoists.
Sixteen para military force personnel were killed in Shilda. The officer-in-charge of Bandwan police station was murdered and the Maoists had set up a reign of terror in the area.
With this backdrop, Mamata Banerjee came to power in 2011.
The first thing she did was to visit the areas to build confidence of local people. It was abject poverty that had helped the poor tribals to help the Maoists.
The erstwhile Left Front government had given them only assurances and the party had used them as shield against the Maoists.
The poor villagers were forced to look after the local gunmen called “harmad” in common parlance. They cooked their food, washed their clothes and they received severe punishment for slightest disobedience.
Banerjee first concentrated on road connectivity. Then 650-metre-long Lalgarh bridge was constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 53 crore which helped to re-establish the confidence in the state government.
The development in infrastructure like providing drinking water and electricity brought peace to the area. The Maoists also left the villages.
The most effective step was to provide Rs 2/kg rice to poor people.
“We get rice at Rs 2 per kg and buy vegetables from the market. We are very happy now as we get two square meals a day,” said Shibu Murmu of Lalgarh. From old people to children coming from tribal background are very happy over Khadyasathi as this is for the first time when their meals are assured.
Schemes for kendu leave collectors and distribution patta among the tribals have become major blessings for them. Sandhya Dalui, a kendu leave collector, had never dreamt of getting any support from the state government.
Now, she can work upto the age of 60 years. She will get money in case of accident and pension after she attains the retiring age. “For us, didi is not a human being. She is a God. We now get food and can work peacefully. They (Maoists) are gone and there is peace in the villages.”
The Opposition knows that it is difficult to criticise these schemes in the campaigns and so they are making whispering campaigns telling people that all these schemes will be withdrawn if the Trinamool Congress is voted back to power.
- After coming to power, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had started visiting several areas to build confidence among local people
- Banerjee first concentrated on road connectivity. Then 650-metre-long Lalgarh bridge was constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 53 crore
- Her most effective step was to provide Rs 2/kg rice to poor people
- Schemes for kendu leave collectors and distribution patta among the tribals have become major blessings for them