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West Bengal to have Rs 200 crore fund to tackle coronavirus, says Mamata Banerjee

PTI Kolkata | Updated on March 16, 2020 Published on March 16, 2020

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (File photo)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced the State government will create a ₹200 crore fund to tackle the coronavirus outbreak on Monday. She also announced that all educational institutions will be closed till April 15.

She also asked cinema theatres to remain shut till March 31.

“Around 3.24 lakh people have been screened in Bengal, and we are keeping a close watch on 5,590 of them. Till now there have been no positive cases in the state,” she said after reviewing the situation arising out of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are creating a Rs 200 crore fund to tackle this crisis,” Banerjee said.

As a precautionary measure, the government has decided to extend the closure of all educational institutes till Aprill 15, the chief minister added. The state government had on Sunday ordered educational institutions to remain shut till March 30.

Budget session cut short

To prevent the spread of the virus, the budget session of the West Bengal Assembly will be cut short  and the House will not meet after Tuesday, Speaker Biman Banerjee said.

The decision was at an all-party meeting on Monday on the Assembly premises. It was attended by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee and floor leaders of Opposition parties. The Speaker said that the second part of the session would be truncated as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19.

Those who attended the meeting said all agenda, except for three bills, including the appropriation bill, would put on the back-burner.

However, voting for the Rajya Sabha elections will take place as scheduled on March 26.

Civic polls postponed

Meanwhile, civic polls in the State, including for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), have been postponed “for the time being” in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak, a senior official said. The decision was taken at an all-party meeting called to decide the dates for the elections, State Election Commissioner Sourav Das said.

“We have decided to defer the civic polls for the time being because of the coronavirus outbreak. We will again hold a meeting to take a call on the matter after 15 days,” he said.

The ruling TMC had appealed to the SEC on Sunday to defer the polls, a demand that also had the backing of opposition parties. Elections to 107 municipal bodies of the state and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation are being viewed as a litmus test for the TMC and the BJP, a year ahead of the crucial Assembly polls.

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Published on March 16, 2020
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