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West Bengal: CM Mamata Banerjee says need to divide existing 23 districts

By Livemint
Reports had earlier stated that the West Bengal government is planning to trifurcate South 24 Parganas (PTI)

However, she stated that the process to do so has been constrained by a lack of manpower and infrastructure. 

Banerjee was speaking at a meeting with state civil service officers when she said that the area of the existing 23 districts in West Bengal is vast, so there is a need to divide them and increase the number.

"We need to divide the districts as these are very large. The state will have more districts. This will help expedite development work," she said.

For this purpose, she said, the state needs more manpower and infrastructure for this purpose.

The chief minister also accused the Centre of not releasing funds to the state.

"I came to know that the Centre has not released funds for 100-day work since December last year. Tell me, how people will work if they are not paid. The central government collects revenue from states and shares a meagre part of it," Banerjee said. 

This comes days after PTI reported that the West Bengal government is planning to trifurcate South 24 Parganas, creating new districts of Baruipur, Sundarbans and Diamond Harbour.

Work was being undertaken on "war footing" to complete formalities necessary to split South 24 Parganas – the largest district in the state – the news agency quoted an official as saying. 

Currently, Diamond Harbour, Baruipur and Sundarbans are police districts.

Explaining the rationale behind the division, the official said the geographical location of different blocks of South 24 Parganas often caused problems to people who had to travel miles after miles to get administrative work done.

The split was being planned in a certain way to ensure that the new districts get to have one sub-divisional court each, he stated.

Last month, the state government had written to the Centre asking it to increase the allotment of IAS and IPS officers in the state.

The Mamata Banerjee government had in the past eight years created three new districts – Alipurduar (in June 2014), Kalimpong (February 2017) and Jhargram (in April 2017).

It also split Bardhaman into two districts.

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