West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said that there is a need to ensure that there is no scarcity of food in the wake of coronavirus lockdown.
On Monday, Banerjee had said that her administration is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that citizens are safe from coronavirus.
“The West Bengal Government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure safety & precautions for its citizens in combating COVID-19 efficiently. At this critical juncture, it is only collective efforts & public cooperation which can help fight this menace,” the chief minister had tweeted out.
Banerjee said that for this purpose, all Police stations will take the responsibility to deliver food at doorsteps and the same will be monitored by the District Magistrates and Police Superintendents.
“Please don’t crowd markets, maintain social distance. And please cover your face with something before going outdoors,” Banerjee told media persons on Tuesday.
She said there were adequate supplies in the market, and so there is no need to store anything.
“It is my sincere request to all the fellow citizens to abide by Government guidelines. Until and unless an emergency, please don’t step out of your homes. We will fight this together. Only we can help keep everyone around us safe,” her tweet read.
More than 1,000 people were arrested in Kolkata since Monday evening for violating the lockdown, officials said. Of the nine afflicted with coronavirus in the state, one has died.
The union home ministry is consulting the law ministry on demands for removal of Justice (retd) AK Ganguly as the chief of the West Bengal human rights panel following allegations of sexual harassment against him, official sources said.
The sources said consultations have begun over letters written by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking action against Ganguly.
The letters were sent by the president to the home ministry.
West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress has been at the forefront in protests against Ganguly, seeking his resignation, and Banerjee has twice written to the president urging action in the case.
Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising Sunday revealed the affidavit by the law intern who has accused Ganguly of sexual harassment.
The affidavit was submitted to a Supreme Court panel, which indicted Ganguly, finding him guilty of “unwelcome behaviour” towards the intern.
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed, as withdrawn, a PIL by Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for alleging favourable judicial verdicts were available at a price.
A bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi permitted Bhim Singh to withdraw the petition saying that the Calcutta High Court was already seized of the matter. However, he sought the liberty of the court in moving it, if required, in the future.
The PIL had said that the words spoken by Banerjee amounted to ‘scandalizing’ the judiciary, which has ‘lowered the authority of the judiciary as a whole’.
Banerjee on August 14 had alleged, ‘Money is paid to buy many (favourable) judgments. Corruption has crept into democracy and judiciary. Why should this happen? This is most unfortunate. I know people may file defamation suits against me for this. But I am not afraid of money and muscle power.’ This was according to one of the newspaper reports annexed to Bhim Singh’s petition.
Banerjee, the petition said, had used ‘highly undesirable, unhealthy and contemptuous language against the judiciary which deserves the attention of the highest court of the country’.
The PIL, moved on August 16, sought that she should be hauled up for the contempt of court within the meaning and scope of Article 129 of the Constitution.
Bhim Singh had urged the apex court to initiate contempt proceedings against her or take any other legal action which the court may feel fit under the given circumstance and the situation.
After striking down of Singur Land Act by the Calcutta High Court, the West Bengal government has decided to move the Supreme Court to challenge the Calcutta High Court order.
In the appeal the state government said the purpose of the Act is employment generation, rehabilitation and returning the land to unwilling farmers. It claims the Act doesn’t involve land acquisition.
The Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 empowered the state government to regain 400 acres of land out of the leased 997 acres that was given by the Left Front government to Tata Motors in 2007 for a factory to produce India’s cheapest car, the Nano.
In June, the Calcutta High Court judgement said that the President’s assent was not taken for the Act, making it void and unconstitutional. The High Court also said the judgement will remain suspended for two months, allowing the government to appeal against the order.
The land was acquired from 13,000 owners, but 2000 of them did not accept compensation for their 400 acres of land.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier promised to return their land to the unwilling farmers of Singur. In one of her first big moves Ms Banerjee passed the Act. It was a major part of her campaign ahead of the Bengal elections, which she won with a landslide.
Tata Motors backed out of Singur in October 2008 and moved their Nano project to Gujarat. The company invested over 1500 crores in Singur and wants compensation.
Four people were arrested Saturday for assaulting Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra, who allegedly circulated “defamatory” cartoons of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress colleagues. A court granted them bail after a few hours.
“The accused, who were produced before a court, have been granted bail as the offences they were charged with are all bailable offences,” said counsel for accused Baishanor Chattopadhyay.
The accused, suspected to be Trinamool Congress workers, were arrested Saturday following a complaint by Mahapatra.
The professor told police that he was assaulted by a group of people and was forced to give a written undertaking that he was a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) worker and circulated the cartoons at the behest of the party.
Congress leader O.P. Mishra criticised the quick grant of bail. “This is a travesty of justice. The one who was assaulted had to spend almost a night in jail while the assaulters walked away free within hours of getting arrested. They should have been booked under stringent laws.”
Mahapatra, along with the secretary of his housing society, Subrata Sengupta, was arrested early Friday and granted bail by a court later in the day.
The collage of cartoons by Mahapatra allegedly includes the photographs of Banerjee and Railway Minister Mukul Roy and uses some dialogues of Satyajit Ray’s detective masterpiece “Sonar Kella”, showing the duo discussing how to get rid of party leader Dinesh Trivedi, who was forced by the chief minister to give up the railways portfolio.
‘Mukul’ is incidentally the name of the child protagonist in the movie.
The arrest evoked widespread condemnation from political parties, eminent personalities and the common people in West Bengal.
In a bid to encourage would-be lawyers, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday said her government will give a stipend of Rs.1,000 to new registered lawyers for one year.
“West Bengal is the only state where we have set up 19 human rights courts and five CBI courts. Manpower is a very big problem. We will bring a welfare bill for lawyers. We have already set up a welfare corporation. We have sanctioned Rs.14 crore for it,” Banerjee said.
“New lawyers who register themselves will be provided with a stipend of Rs.1,000 for one year. It will encourage new lawyers who have to struggle in their initial years,” she said.
Banerjee announced a group insurance scheme under which family members of lawyers who die before the age of 60 will get Rs.2 lakh.