KOLKATA: Laying the foundation stone for Darjeeling's first-ever university at Mungpoo in the district on the occasion of Teachers' Day on Wednesday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee patted her own back stating that the state administration did a commendable job in mitigating the crisis of Majerhat Bridge collapse in south Kolkata on Tuesday.
Offering her explanation for not being able to reach the spot on time, she said, "I could not go to the spot yesterday as there was no Kolkata-bound flight from Siliguri after 6 pm. But I monitored everything from here with my ministers and bureaucrats. The police, administration and locals did a commendable job in rescuing injured persons and mitigating the crisis. Due to blessings of 'Mother Kanchenjunga', the casualty numbers were less."
Responding to several national sportspersons' demand to increase reward money to Asian Games heptathlon gold winner Swapna Barman from Rs 10 lakh, she said,"Our government is very poor. We have to repay debts of Rs 48,000 crore every year to the Centre due to Left Front's borrowing. Despite that, I have given Rs 10 lakh reward to her and we will give Swapna and her brother jobs in the tourism department. We are also planning to make a new sports policy to nurture talent from rural Bengal so that they go to Olympics."
Speaking on the new university, she added, "The university in Darjeeling will be called Darjeeling Hill University. Some 25 acres have been identified for the campus. We are also establishing a campus of Presidency University in Kurseong and an educational hub in Kalimpong. We will have humanities, social sciences, journalism, science, vocational training, tourism, tea management, horticulture and Himalayan studies in Darjeeling Hill University. Certificate and diploma courses will also be offered. Our government has built 23 universities in seven years and will build nine more very soon."
She also promised to give bags and raincoats to 28,000 government school students of Class IX, X, XI and XII across Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts. She also asked the ethnic development boards to encourage homestay tourism across the two districts.