KOLKATA 26 AUG: A year after the Lok Sabha election, the contour of a viable Opposition political parties was seen on Wednesday at a virtual meeting called by Sonia Gandhi which was attended by several Opposition leaders and chief ministers of Congress ruled states and their counterparts at West Bengal , Jharkhand and Maharasthra ,but the show stopper was no other than West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee who was requested by Gandhi to take charge of the Opposition barrage .
It was a meeting called to discuss a strategy for a united fight against the Centre’s move to hold the engineering and medical entrance exams during this pandemic. All chief ministers should approach the Supreme Court again to request that the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) be postponed, appealed Mamata.
However, Mamata’s attack did not have the sting as she urged the BJP government to appeal to the Supreme Court to postpone the exams that are scheduled to be held in September.
“I have already written a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to defer the date of NEET/JEE which is scheduled on September4. Why should the lives of 25.50 lakh student be at risk at a time when the pandemic is going on. And the lockdown is on in several parts of the state in phases. Train services have been halted, for now, there are limited bus services. How will the students travel to the centres? Let the situation get normal and then we can allow students to sit for the examination,” said Banerjee.
“I would urge the Prime Minister to appeal to the Supreme Court on this regard. If the PM does not listen to us, we all states collectively should approach the Supreme Court,” she added.
In Wednesday’s rally, Banerjee showed respect to Gandhi and urged her to lead the Opposition group giving importance to her seniority.
The Opposition parties discussed issues ranging from the postponement of NEET /JEE to Centre depriving states by not allocating funds, the much-expected GST compensation amid the global pandemic year. The issue of Central investigating agencies threatening the state government ministers with arrest whenever they try to raise a public issue was also raised by Banerjee.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh and Banerjee also raised the fund situation in their state in times of this crisis, which is really bad and at its knees now.
According to Banerjee, Center has stopped disbursing relief funds to both West Bengal and Punjab. They are yet to pay the GST amount too along with the 53,000 crores due that was promised.
Meanwhile, Amarinder Singh also raised the issue of fund where he highlighted that their state has spent nearly Rs 500 crore, and Punjab may face a deficit of Rs 25,000 crore this year due to the current situation. He also urged Banerjee if any collective efforts can be taken so that they can appeal to the Prime Minister and apprise him of the revenue situation in the state.
“I urge PM Modi to look into this matter and provide funds to all BJP-ruled states and Congress-ruled states. I request him to not discriminate against any states while allocating and disbursing funds. Center has allotted only Rs 1,000 crore for the Cyclone Amphan relief, but we have already spent Rs 6,000 crore for the Cyclone Amphan relief so far,” replied Mamata to Singh.
Fresh Proposals In: West Bengal Cabinet approves
- On Wednesday, the state cabinet has decided to set up the Tajpur port. Previously, it was decided that 75 per cent of the funds would be provided by the state and remaining by the Centre. However, now that the Center has failed to provide any funds, the state government has decided to set up the port, anyway. The port will help in infrastructure development and employment generation.
- West Bengal government has decided to set up a cable landing station at Digha in East Midnapore. The station will be set up by Reliance Jio. It will be a land cable station, as in India, there is a submerged cable inside. It will help to get much faster speed internet bandwidth. Thus, will enhance the IT and IT-enabled services and companies to thrive.
- West Bengal government is also planning for a Bengal Broad-Based Policy 2020 where-in more employment opportunities will be created.
- The Bengal Silicon Valley to be set up at Rajarhat to provide more employment opportunities to the IT industry.
- The first phase work for the Deocha Pachami, the second-largest coal mine in the world to start soon in Birbhum.