Bengal state secretariat Nabanna.
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Featured Image: A file photo of Bengal state secretariat Nabanan in Howrah. 

By A Newsman

Kolkata, 18 August: THE Left parties on Tuesday reiterated the demand for decentralisation of relief distribution to the flood-hit people in Bengal and expressed doubt over the Trinamool government’s claim about the spending made on relief so far.

They raised the demand during an all-party meeting held at Bengal state secretariat Nabanna in Howrah with the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the chair.

CPI-M leader and the state’s former finance minister Asim Dasgupta headed the Left delegation to the meeting, which was also attended by representatives from the BJP. The Congress, which convened a bandh in Bengal today against alleged lawlessness in the state, did not send anyone.

During the meeting, the Left parties served a memorandum to the Chief Minister with a six-point charter of demands that also included the release of data on actual relief distribution, specifying the quantum of assistance that the government plans to provide to the  flood affected people towards house-building and compensation for crop damage.

Emerging out of the meeting, Mr Dasgupta told reporters that it  was not clear as to how the government finalised the requirement for Rs 21,000 crore flood rehab package that the Chief Minister recently sought from the Prime Minister.

“We are also concerned about the fact that the state has talked of a provision for Rs 8,000 crore for flood rehab; from where would the remaining amount come?” he asked .

Countering this, state education minister Partha Chatterjee said that the figure arrived at by the state government was only a provisional one and it would be revised based on actual requirement and utilisation.

“Our main aim is to provide relief to the affected people. We have discussed several short-term and long-term goals for relief work in today’s meeting,” Mr Chatterjee said.

As regards, the Opposition’s observation on the rehab package sought from the Centre, he said that if the Opposition wants, the government was ready to hand over a copy of the letter that the CM had submitted to the PM.