After train hijacking, comes a reality show. Who can sink a tube-well or set up a health-centre first — the West Bengal government or the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist)?
The venue, as expected, is the Maoist-dominated western districts in the state. The deadline is November 27. And the judges are intellectuals, rights bodies and the media. The prizes, however, are yet not decided.
The proposal comes with a rider, though. The police or the Central Reserve Police Force should not be allowed to enter the area. But the Maoists promised security to those who would enter these areas to carry out the government's development work.
A press statement, signed by the Maoists’ Politburo member Kishenji and their West Midnapore-Purulia-Bankura zonal committee secretary Bikash, claimed the Maoists would sink 100 tube-wells in the next one month.
And “the people of Jangalmahal will set up 15 temporary hospitals in these areas. Let the government run 50 such centres, where medicine and treatment will be offered free of cost”. The forests in West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura, where the Maoists dominate, are traditionally referred to as Jangalmahal.
This is not the first time that the Maoists have taken up development projects. In June, Hindustan Times revealed in an exclusive report how the Maoists had taken up projects like health centres, schools, ponds and irrigation schemes.
These projects were implemented in parts of West Midnapore where the police could not enter for eight months.
Thursday’s statement also dares the government to publish within four days a list of the development work it initiated since the Centre-state combined force was deployed in Lalgarh on June 18, about 200 km west of Kolkata.
Kishenji said, “Each eligible resident of Jangalmahal should get 45 days’ work for the period between June 18 and November 27. Starting Sunday provide 25 days’ work by November 27, or, pay them equivalent money.”