Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday expressed her firm determination to establish the rule of law in state, winding up the discussion on the motion of thanks to the Governor's address in the state Assembly.

Banerjee said the Trinamool Congress did not seek revenge and the government's business was not to terrorise or allow anyone to do so.

Declaring that as an administrator she was "rough and tough", Banerjee, who also holds the home portfolio, told the house that she has ordered the police to act irrespective of party colour.

The Chief Minister said many had apprehended that the state would witness a bloodbath after the declaration of election results, but at her instruction no victory procession was taken out and instead only Tagore songs were played.

Stating that she had full faith in the police and administration, she said she wanted to work with the same police set-up.

Referring to an allegation by the Opposition that two Sabar tribals were killed by TC, she asked them not to play politics with the lives of people.

On the Left parties' allegations that their workers were being killed, Banerjee said her party men also lost their lives at Murshidabad and Bhangar recently.

Stating that her party came to power in the state less than a month ago, she exhorted the Left members to have patience.

Turning to her movement against land acquisition, Banerjee said the previous government did not pay heed to her party's demand that there should be no forcible acquisition, adding that thousands of acres of land were acquired in Rajarhat but nobody knew about it earlier.

Criticising the previous LF government, she said there was no account of ration cards and people did not get essential items.

Banerjee, who had visited the food department office this week, said the number of ration cards were more than the population, yet people were not getting food.

She said she has asked Food Minister Jyotipriya Mallik to take action after conducting an inquiry.

Referring to the Left's criticism of the Governor's address, she said one might agree or disagree with it, but none should disrespect his constitutional position.

Stating that a Governor read out the policies and programme of a government, she told the Left members that they should ascertain from past records who had prepared the Governor's speech earlier.

On the Opposition's allegation that the expert committee on education set up by her government was infringing on the autonomy of universities, Banerjee said any department can set up an expert committee to seek advice.

Banerjee said she was proud that personalities like (Nobel laureate) Amartya Sen and (noted historian) Sugata Bose had agreed to be mentors in reviving the glory of Presidency
College, which is now a university.

Academics from the IIMs, Jadavpur University and the Bengal Engineering and Science University were also in the committee, she said.

Stating that an expert committee would be set up to work out a syllabus that will not be burdensome for school children, the Chief Minister said Tagore's iconic book for children 'Sahajpath' would be re-introduced in the school curriculum as a tribute to the poet on his sesquicentennial.

Pointing out that youth from the state were losing out in all-India competitive examinations owing to their lack of knowledge in English, Banerjee said stress would be given on
teaching the language in the Bengali medium schools.

Initiative for development

Criticising the previous Left Front government for leaving the state exchequer in a sorry state, Banerjee said the situation was so bad that widows and senior citizens did not get their pensions for months.

She said she would talk to Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia in this regard.

Stating that teachers' salaries would be paid on the first day of every month, she said talks were on with the United Bank of India to enable payment of salaries of government employees through the bank from September to ensure transparency.

Noting that a lot of development work like roads, bridges and industries needed to be taken up in the hills, she said she was waiting for the Centre to give a date for the tripartite meeting.

On her government's development initiatives in 'junglemahal', Banerjee said she would visit there soon with a development package.

She said while tribal families in junglemahal with an annual income of Rs 24,000 were earlier eligible to get rice at Rs two per kg, it would now cover those with an annual income of Rs 42,000. Non-tribal poor families with an annual income of Rs 36,000 would also be eligible to get the benefit.

Maintaining that a section of the poor people had been deprived of BPL cards because of political victimisation, Banerjee said that district magistrates had been given special
powers to issue BPL cards to them.

Panel to probe 1970 Saibari case

Mamata Banerjee said she has set up a judicial commission to probe the 1970 Saibari murder case, alleging that the previous governments did not take action on the findings of an earlier enquiry commission set up to probe the case.

She said her government was also planning to set up an enquiry into the Cossipore mass killings and was studying records for the purpose. Besides, the government was also planning to enquire into the killing of refugees from erstwhile East Bengal in police firing at Marichjhanpi in South 24-Parganas, she said.

The Chief Minister said the government has set up a judicial commission to enquire into the death of Mostafa Bin Quasem who fell to his death at the MLA hostel on May 29.

Early tripartite meet on Darjeeling

Mamata Banerjee said her government wanted the Centre to convene an early tripartite meeting on Darjeeling.

She said after an agreement with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was reached at official-level talks here on June 6, the state government had immediately conveyed it to the Centre with the request that it convene a tripartite meeting to work out the final agreement.

The Centre had yesterday sought a clarification from the state government on the matter and the reply had been given, she said, adding the state government was prepared to apprise the Opposition of the agreement with the GJM at the June 6 meeting.

JPN/Agencies