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Starvation death reports untrue, WB govt giving rice at Rs 2/kg: Mamata Banerjee

Starvation death reports untrue, WB govt giving rice at Rs 2/kg: Mamata Banerjee

Jamboni (WB), Nov 26 (PTI) Iterating that starvationdeath reports in Jangalmahal area of West Bengal were"untrue", Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Monday hergovernment had been running several welfare schemes in theformer Maoist bastion.Allegations were rife during the Left Front regime that people in Jangalmahal, comprising forested areas of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura districts, went without food for months, but the TMC government ensured development of the people there, she said."Immediately after coming to power, I ensured thatpeople in the Jangalmahal area get rice at Rs 2 per kg. So ifsomeone says people are dying of starvation, it is untrue. Iwill not accept it," she said at a public meeting here.A section of media recently reported that seven people of Sabar community in Jangalmahal area of Jhargram district died due to starvation.Sabar community is an ethnic tribe, mainly residing inJharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.The chief minister also claimed to have received information about people selling off their quota of food grains."Every person gets 8 kg rice and 3 kg wheat per month. However, I have come to know that people who don't require the grains sell part of their quota in the open market," she said.Last week, during her Assembly address, Banerjee hadsaid that the deaths in the former Maoist stronghold resultedfrom "age-related ailments" or "excessive liquor consumption".Maintaining that the West Bengal government gave subsidies and sops to people on all occasions, she asserted that no other state could match up to the welfare programmesrun by her government."The former CPI(M)-led Left Front regime had saddled us with debts. The NDA government, too, takes away huge amount of money for servicing debts. However, we haven't let all that factors affect our schemes."From birth to death, the TMC government doles outbenefits on all occasions, including marriage and child birth.No state in country in on par with the West Bengal government when it comes to sops disbursal," the chief minister said.Alleging that the BJP was trying to "divide people on religious lines", the TMC supremo sought to know the role played the saffron party during Maoist violence in Jangalmahal."Hundreds of people died every year from Maoist violence and police action during the period of unrest in Jangalmahal. Where were they (BJP) when people were actually starving to death?" she said.Maoist violence was largely contained in the rural areas of West Bengal after the Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) came to power in 2011."I had visited all Maoist-affected places, including Lalgarh and Goaltore, where no one dared to tread foot at that time," she recounted.Without taking names, Banerjee also alleged that "Maoists were being brought to Bengal from neighbouringJharkhand" to create unrest in the state.She also took at a dig at the Chhattisgarh governmentfor not being able to control the menace.Banerjee's jibe at the Raman Singh-led government camearound an hour after eight Naxals and two police personnelwere killed in an encounter between ultras and security men in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district."In Chhattisgarh, the BJP has been in power for many years, but the Maoist violence is still rampant in the state," she added. PTI AMR RMS NSDNSD