To improve the socio-economic condition of the people in Sunderbans, the state government has taken up a host of new initiatives, including building up the connectivity between the various islands, said MV Rao, Principal Secretary, Sunderban Affairs Department.
Rao was speaking at a seminar on ‘Skill Development: New Initiatives in West Bengal’, organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce at its office on Wednesday. For building up the infrastructure, the state government will invest more than Rs 400 crore in the Sunderbans so as to improve the condition of people there.
“A lot of works have been done in Sunderbans. The state government is aggressively pursuing a project for connecting all islands in Sunderbans which did not happen before. Around 104 islands are there in the Sunderbans, among which half are inhibited by the people while the rest are forest areas. Around 50 lakh people are living there. It is for the first time the government has allotted Rs 400 crore for the development of infrastructure,” Rao maintained.
He added that various skill development programmes have been initiated in several villages in the area and parts of North and South 24 Parganas. For example, there are three hospitality management courses being run by the government in the last 12 months so that educated but unemployed youths can be trained.
“We are going to introduce three courses on plumbing and for electricians each at Kakdwip, Canning and Hasnabad from tomorrow [Thursday] so that educated youths get some employment. With a boom in the retail sector, hospitality management courses have already been started at Sunderbans.
In small towns, the boys are getting employment after going through the skill development programmes. The retail sectors that are coming up in small towns also require skilled workers. With various hotels coming up at different locations across the state they need trained persons in hospitality management. We have tied up with several skill development partners accredited by the National Skill Development Council. The state government will fund the programmes,” Rao said at the seminar.
RN Bandyopadhyaya, Chairman, Board of Studies and Skilling, West Bengal Council of Technical and Vocational Education and Skill Development and OSD, said that West Bengal has bagged the best award for three consecutive years for its various programmes on skill development at the national level.