Mamata declares tribals in junglemahal as BPL

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Sarenga (Bankura), Jul 13: After giving a call to Maoists to lay down arms, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today turned her attention to the poorest of the poor in ''junglemahal'' by announcing that all tribals in the three districts would be included in the BPL list.

"I am declaring all tribals living in junglemahal as BPL families. I have instructed the chief secretary to work out the details to implement this within one and half months," Banerjee told a public rally here in Bankura district on the second day of her first visit to Maoist-hit areas as chief minister.

Stating that the key to development in junglemahal comprising West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts, lay in food for all, she said, "Our government's top priority is to give food to all."

"The huge population living in junglemahal is poor. If all get food, the problem will be solved. The previous government neglected development of junglemahal," she said.

Stating that her government had decided after coming to power that tribals earning less than Rs 42,000 a year would be eligible to rice at Rs 2 a kg, she said that non-tribals have also been given some relief.

Non-tribals, who earlier required a BPL card to be eligible for the rice rice scheme, would be eligible for rice at Rs 2 rice a kg if their income was less than Rs 36,000, she said.

During the previous Left Front regime, tribals in junglemahal with annual income of less than Rs 24,000 were eligible for the rice scheme.

"Our focus will be on improving basic services such as health, education, drinking water and sanitation," she said.

PTI

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