Mamata wants Centre to work on forest rights for tribals

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Mamata Banerjee
Bankura, Sept 25: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today pitched strongly for granting forest rights to tribals and requested the Centre to take steps towards it.

"The state government wants to give forest rights to tribals which is their birth right. The Central Government should take necessary steps," Banerjee said while addressing a rally at Barikul here in Bankura.

"The tribals have demanded rights over forests where they live. I feel they should have it," Banerjee, who had earlier urged the Centre to bring a comprehensive bill regarding the matter, said.

Mamata also claimed that Junglemahal, which had witnessed killings till her government came to power, was now 'smiling' with a slew of development projects being taken up.

She said that the government was providing jobs and ensuring development of former Maoists-hit areas of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore districts. Without naming the Maoists she asked the people not to allow them to return to Junglemahal.

"I am not against an ideology, though I may not like it, but violence cannot be tolerated and democracy is the only way," she said, adding, that cycles were distributed among 50,000 students in Junglemahal.

"Providing food to the everyone is our goal. If people get food and have jobs why should they kill?" she asked. On the second day of her three-day visit to the three districts Mamata laid foundations of 70 development projects. She also announced that a primary school would be named after the officer-in-charge of Barikul Police Station Prabal Sengupta, who was killed by Maoists in 2005.

PTI

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