Kolkata, Jan 19 (IANS) Brushing aside criticism over farmer suicides in the state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday denied that heavy agricultural debt was driving farmers to end their lives and claimed the suicides were due to “personal loans and family problems”.
“Nobody has committed suicide due to agricultural debts or because of land. The farmers who have committed suicide have done so because of personal loans and family reasons,” Banerjee asserted while addressing a Trinamool Congress Panchayati Raj Sammelan.
Both the opposition and the alliance partner Congress have criticized the state government for alleged mismanagement of agricultural issues, leading to suicides of farmers across the state.
“We had made the system in such a way that farmers directly get the money from bank accounts. Earlier, during the CPI-M rule farmers used to get money from the cadres of the CPI-M. The cadres used to take half the money and the rest was given to the poor farmers,” said Banerjee.
Banerjee challenged the opposition, saying she will resign if the opposition can prove that the price of urea has been raised by her government.
“I challenge them that if they can prove that the price of urea has been raised by my government, I am ready to resign. They are saying that urea was decontrolled by the central government when I was part of the union cabinet. I want to tell them that all decisions are not taken and discussed in the cabinet,” said Banerjee.
Banerjee also alleged that Panchayats and Zilla Parishads run by the Left Front are not cooperating with the state government.
“There are CPI-M run Zilla Parishads and Panchayats which are not cooperating with the state government. Many developmental projects and funds are not implemented properly. This thing cannot be tolerated,” she said.
“They are spreading rumours that we are planning to dismantle the Left-run Zilla Parishads, I just want to say that we are not like them. In 2010 they had dismantled many panchayat samitis across the state,” she added.
Banerjee promised that if 100 days of work is completed under the rural employment guarantee scheme, then the state government will provide 100 more days of work to the rural people of the state.
Banerjee lashed out the Left Front for criticizing her government over crib deaths in the state.
“In some places some babies are dying, it’s really painful but the state government cannot be blamed. Most of the babies were either brought dead or were brought to the hospital in a very bad condition. In average, every year 40,000 crib deaths are recorded in Bengal,” said Banerjee.