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Bengal govt wants development not guns, Mamata tells Maoists

Warning Maoists that the West Bengal government would not allow violence to return to ‘junglemahal’ comprising Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore districts, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that her government wanted development and not guns.

‘Our government has been able to restore peace in junglemahal and is carrying out development work for the people including providing food and other basic needs,’ Banerjee said addressing a rally here at Laharia in Purulia district.

‘This was our challenge and commitment after we came to power. We will not allow guns to return to junglemahal ,’ she said without naming the Maoists.

‘It is because of you that peace has returned to junglemahal,’ she said at the rally attended by women in large numbers.

Hinting at the bad road conditions in the district, she said, ‘Good roads condition are an index of development. I am asking you to approach BDOs to ensure that that kutcha roads in villages where more than 100 people live are asphalted.’

Banerjee, who is been a on three-day visit to Jungalmahal from 22 September, said that many years ago before the area became a Maoist stronghold, used to be a favourite tourist destination.

The chief minister said that a tourism circuit from Ayodhya and Jaichandi hills in Purulia district to Kolkata was being set up.

She said that work for the circuit, which would also pass through Bankura and West Midnapore districts, had begun and Rs 3.10 crore of the estimated cost of Rs 4.80 crore already disbursed.

Banerjee said that efforts would be made to restart trekking to promote tourism in the Ayodhya hills.

New licences have been given for running bus services from Kolkata to Ayodhya hills to attract tourists, she said.

She also asked the district magistrate to make arrangement so that young men could set up roadside eateries and earn money.

Banerjee said that a Rs 1300 crore drinking water project would be taken up in 20 blocks in the drought prone district.

She said that there were no banking facilities in 800 villages in the state.

‘I would urge the Centre to see that 200 villages in the state are provided banking facilities,’ she said.
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