The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Friday announced statewide demonstrations over the weekend in protest against rising fuel prices.
Demanding the immediate reduction in petrol and diesel prices, TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said one procession would begin from the Jadavpur police station on Saturday. The following day, a march will be held in the Behala area. It will start from the 3A bus stand in Thakurpukur.
Hitting out at the BJP and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chatterjee’s Cabinet colleague Bratya Basu said, “Listening to the speech of the Union Home Minister on Thursday, the character of ‘Bhondor Bahadur’ created by Gaganendranath Tagore came to my mind. He kept talking about useless things. The home minister spoke about women, fisherfolk and education. Do you know that the largest portion of the money allocated in Gujarat’s Budget is used for land acquisition? In the last 10 years, only 2 per cent of the Budget allocation was spent on education. In Gujarat, 45 per cent of the workers are illiterate, and a survey has shown that most have studied only till Class 5. The salaries of school teachers are irregular. There are a lot of issues regarding pension. For public health, Gujarat spends only 0.8 per cent of its total Budget allocation, which number for the rest of the states is 4-6 per cent.”
He added, “In Gujarat, 45 per cent of the children suffer from malnutrition. The rate of death of children is very concerning. In Gujarat, 94 per cent of the workers receive salaries that are the lowest in the country. The government of Gujarat pays the country’s lowest workers’ subsidy. Five times has the Gujarat High Court told the state government to take proper steps for the development of Adivasis, Scheduled Castes and fisherfolk. Thousands of fisherfolk in that state have lost their houses. A massive 40 per cent of the population live below the poverty line in Gujarat. Maitreesh Ghatak, a professor of economics at the London School of Economics, has described the state of development in Gujarat as thus, ‘Gujarat is a proverbial case of darkness under the lamps.’ Those who could not develop Gujarat are making false promises in our Bengal.”
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