West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday launched a new mass outreach programme, “Sarasari Mukhyamantri” (Direct to CM), in which people will be able to express their grievances directly to her through a helpline. People used to write letters or emails to the chief minister, but now they will talk to her directly about their problems, she said.
"This (Sarasari Mukhyamantri) is a new programme. The people of West Bengal will be able to tell me their grievances directly. A helpline number, 9137091370, will be open between 10 am and 6 pm from Monday to Saturday," Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress supremo, said at the state secretariat.
After its poor performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Banerjee had launched a dedicated helpline number and a website as part of 'Didi Ke Bolo' (Tell Didi) programme, to enable people to have a direct interface with party functionaries. The TMC boss was addressed as ‘Didi’ (elder sister) by her followers. “’Didi Ke Bolo’ programme was done by the party. But this is not political," the chief minister said.
Stating that all complaints will be given equal priority, Banerjee said that 500 call centres have been set up for the purpose and over 100 people would be on the job. "The complaints will be addressed quickly. I will personally monitor the operations. All the officers have to ensure that the issues are immediately settled. I will ask the chief secretary to start a mechanism in this regard,” she said.
The ‘Sarasari Mukhyamantri’ programme was launched on a day when the date for the panchayat election was announced. It will be held on July 8. Earlier, the TMC launched several mass outreach programmes such as 'Duare Sarkar' (Government at doorstep), 'Didir Doot' (Didi’s messenger), and 'Trinamool-e Nabajoar' (New wave in Trinamool).
The CMO-Grievance Cell, set up in October 2019 to enable citizens of West Bengal to have their concerns voiced to the highest administrative authority, has handled 22 lakh grievances, received through phone calls, SMS, letters, emails and through Bangla Sahayata Kendras (BSK), the state government said in a statement.