Kolkata: With panchayat elections barely a year away , West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced monthly stipend of Rs 2500 for the State’s 30,000 Imams. Continued to rain sops on the State’s Muslim community,  she also announced that the imams children would also get other facilities like housing schemes and funds for education.

“We don’t have funds as we have to shell out Rs 22,000 crore towards payment of interest on loans taken by the earlier Left Front Government. Still I have the heart to do something for my Muslim brothers and sisters,” the Chief Minister told a huge gathering of Imams at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.

Promising to provide land in their villages for building their homes, she said that her government is committed for the growth of the community.

“The government will build20,000 houses for the community,” she added.

In order to avoid legal hassles the allowance would be paid through the Ministry of Wakf the Chief Minister said. “As I am not conversant with the Muslim ways I have decided to create a task force” that would include senior Imams, Muslim leaders like Toha Siddiqui, Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan’s mosque and a retired judge who would recommend their suggestions to the Chief Minister.

The State Government was already doing a survey on the Muslim community of the State so as to give them effective recommendation as mentioned in the Sacchhar Committee report.