Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the second Mati Utsav (Land Festival) in Panagarh near Durgapur yesterday. The idea of holding Mati Utsav was conceived by Mamata Banerjee government last year for promoting cultures and traditions of rural Bengal.
Nothing seems to deter chief minister Mamata Banerjee from having her way. Despite criticism that her debt-strapped government was squandering central funds by organising fairs and festivals, the CM while inaugurating the second Mati Utsav said, “Its people’s fair. It’s for the grassroots; it’s a fair where Bengal’s culture, creativity, passion for growth and development would get recharged every year.”
Tollywood star Prosenjit Chatterjee, singer Indranil Sen and writer and activist Mahasweta Devi also were vocal in their support during the inauguration.
Mahasweta Devi was termed ‘Bhumi Kanya (Daughter of Land)’ during the opening ceremony today and she was ‘made’ to recite a written statement that read: “This whole festival needs to be video graphed and shown across the country, especially at New Delhi.”
Then she gave voice to Tagore’s Swarthak Janam Amar jonmechhi ei Deshe. Further, the former Leftist legendary human activist read: “Mamata has tamed down the fumes in Junglemahal and now Delhi is calling her. I want to see her as Prime Minister of India.”
A bunch of Cabinet ministers, departmental top brasses accompanied the chief minister as she inaugurated fire stations, agri-marketing stores, hostels for students, veterinary hospitals, drinking water projects and laid foundation for 32 projects, including 224 roads, 63 minor irrigation projects through remote devices from the Mati Utsav podium.
Later while addressing the people, Miss Banerjee lashed out at the critics of the Mati Utsav and said: “They ruled the state. Why couldn’t they organise such people’s fair. They were rather busy with political rallies and never felt the need to get the people involved. Let them say whatever they want. I shall continue to organise hundreds of such fairs and festivals in my state.”
Inquiries at Writers’ Buildings revealed the agriculture department had to allocate funds from the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) to sponsor the last years Mati Utsav at Panagarh near Durgapur. RKVY – is the central scheme that came into being during the Eleventh Plan for achieving a 4% growth rate in agriculture and allied sectors.
Not very long ago, the CM had distributed Rs 40.09 crore to 2,395 clubs and promised to keep the handout “project” alive for five years. This disbursal, too, was routed through the plan head of the sports department.
The CM this year skipped visiting the pavilions of ‘Mati Utsav’ possibly due to last year’s bitter experience where people were seen encroaching the security zone frequently and she even threatened to slap photographers after getting worked up by their frenzied desire to get snaps of her.