Mamata Declares Sops for Muslims

Mamata Declares Sops for Muslims
Announcing sops for Muslims ahead of next year's panchayat polls, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said that her government would bring in a law for providing them quota in government jobs.

"The previous government had done it without proper survey and that is why it turned out to be a hodge-podge and a case is pending in court," the chief minister told a meeting of Imams at the Netaji Indoor Stadium here.

A survey would be taken up for this, she said, adding that Backward Classes Welfare minister Upendranath Biswas has been asked to complete the work as early as possible.

Assuring that employment for Muslims was a priority for her government, she said an employment bank was being set up and the government was arranging to provide 20,000 jobs.

On scholarships for minorities, she said, only three lakh scholarships were given during the previous Left Front regime, but 16 lakh minority students received loans for studies in the ten months her government came to power.

"I have never betrayed Muslims. Our government is fulfilling promises I have made," she said, adding that funds for the minority department has been increased 73 per cent in the budget.

Noting that her government was implementing the recommendations of Justice (retd.) Rajinder Singh Sachar committee, Banerjee said Urdu was declared as an official language in districts where the Urdu-speaking population exceeded 10 per percent.

Every year 20,000 dwelling units would be constructed to meet accommodation problems of Muslims, she said at the meeting at which the Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque Maulana Nurur Rehman Barkati was present.

Banerjee announced payment of honorarium of Rs 2,500 per month through the Wakf Board to 30,000 imams in the state and a task force to be headed by the chairman of the Wakf Board Abdul Gani which would submit a report to the government on the welfare of imams within 15 days.

She announced that the Urban Development department would arrange housing for the imams in the city and for those in the districts three katha of land would be given for constructing houses.

Both the land and cost of construction would be borne by the state government, she said.

The meeting was organised by the government of West Bengal, Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education Department and the West Bengal Minorities Development Finance Corporation.

Finance minister Amit Mitra, Industry minister Partha Chatterjee, Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee and Railway Minister Mukul Roy were present at the meeting.
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