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Left has failed Bengal for 34 years: Dr Singh

Last updated on: April 23, 2011 16:33 IST

Left has failed Bengal for 34 years: Dr Singh

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Launching a frontal attack on the ruling Left Front government, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the law and order situation in West Bengal was a matter of "grave concern" and called for a change to give a fresh lease of life to the state.

Coverage: Assembly Elections 2011

"The law and order situation in the state is a matter of grave concern. If the Congress-Trinamool Congress combine comes to power after the elections, its first task would be to bring peace and all-round development," the prime minister told an election rally in Katwa.

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Image: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh

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'Cong-TC can give a fresh lease of life to WB'

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Observing that the state has slipped into the morass in all fields, -- agriculture, industry, investment, health and education, he said, "The chariot of the administration has come to a halt in the state. It is now time for a change. Only a Congress-Trinamool Congress government can give a fresh lease of life to the state."

The prime minister said the Left Front government lacked vision and had no concrete policy on agriculture and industry. "The state government has lost the confidence of investors and the people." He said West Bengal, which once occupied an important place in industry, now lagged behind many states.

"I have come here with the message of Sonia Gandhi to elect the Congress-Trinamool Congress government in Bengal to give an opportunity to serve you. You have given the Left Front an opportunity for 34 years, but it failed to deliver," Dr Singh said.


Image: Congress President Sonia Gandhi with Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee

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'WB govt has failed to ensure industrial development'

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Coming down heavily on the state government for failing to ensure industrial development to create jobs, the prime minister said factories in Kalyani and other areas have closed down.

"The condition of the manufacturing, tea and tourism industries is very bad. Unless investment comes, how will the youth have any income? It is matter of regret that despite potential in the state, the children of Bengal have to go for jobs elsewhere," he said. "Only a Congress-Trinamool Congress government can take a revolutionary initiative in development."

Photographs: Reuters
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'Muslims in Bengal lagging in progress'

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Referring to the report of the Sachar Committee, which was set up by the United Progressive Alliance government, Dr Singh said that Muslims in the state were lagging behind in terms of progress than their brethren elsewhere in the country.

"There are more Muslim representation in government jobs in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Assam than in West Bengal. The Left Front is responsible for this," Singh said.

He said the Centre has taken up a special 15-point scheme for the development of minorities. "In many scheme, 15 per cent of the funds have been reserved for minorities."

Observing that one of the most successful schemes of the government is the scholarship schemes for pre and post-matric students, he said, several lakh students, including girls, have benefited from the scheme last year.


Photographs: Bhaskar Roy/Reuters
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'Under MNREGA Bengal provided only 48 lakh jobs'

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Accusing the West Bengal government of failing to properly utilise funds for various development schemes, Dr Singh said the Centre had given sufficient funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act, National Rural Health Mission, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, the mid-day meal scheme and the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

"It is unfortunate that the Bengal government has not been able to utilise the funds," he said, adding the Andhra Pradesh government provided jobs to 60 lakh people under MNREGA during 2010-11, while in Bengal, only 48 lakh were provided jobs for 22 days.


Image: An unemployed migrant worker
Photographs: Reuters
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'Bengal has not been able to spend 70 pc health funds'

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Noting that West Bengal's public health system was in shambles, he said the number of doctors was insufficient, the primary health centres were not functioning and women and children were suffering from malnutrition.

West Bengal has not been able to spend 70 per cent of the funds of the National Rural Health Mission, he said. "The Left Front accuses the Centre of discrimination against the state, but it cannot spend central funds. It must be pondered why the state government cannot spend the funds sent to it by the Centre for the benefit of the people," the prime minister said.

Expressing concern about the state financial debt, Dr Singh said West Bengal's revenue deficit during 2009-10 was more than all other states.


Image: Malnourishment is prevalent in Bengal
Photographs: Reuters
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