We respect dharma but do not sell it: Mamata Banerjee
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee at the inauguration of Rani Rashmoni Skywalk at Dakshineshwar on Monday. (Photo: Subal Saha)
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday hit out at the BJP saying their saffron-dressed sadhus were ‘fake monks’ who are eager to be ministers and enjoy life in contradiction to the “true monks”.
“Wearing a saffron dress does not mean that the person is a monk. A monk’s life is synonymous with sacrifice. But the so-called saffron-dressed monks of BJP are always busy giving lectures. They are fake monks who want to be ministers and enjoy life. The real monks do not have any greed.
There is a Saccha Gerua(true saffron) and Jhoota Gerua (fake saffron),” said Miss Banerjee while inaugurating the skywalk at Dakshineshwar this evening. “We don’t divide people on the ground of religion as our parents never taught us to do so. In Bengal, we follow the path shown by our parents, teachers and elders. Bengal’s spine cannot be crushed as Bengal keeps its head high,” she added.
Speaking about the development work undertaken in various religious sites namely Tarapith, Tarakeswar, Bakreswar and Gangasagar, Miss Banerjee said that those who always talk about religion do not do anything for it.
“They are busy talking about dharma (religion) but do nothing for dharma. We respect dharma but do not sell it,” she said, adding that a controversy was started when state minister Firad Hakim was appointed chairman of Tarakeswar Development Authority. “What does a person’s religion have to do with development work?” she said.
Yet again lashing out at the BJP for stopping her from going to Chicago, Miss Banerjee said that the party was teaching her Hinduism, “Now only a few people will practice Hinduism.”
Naming the skywalk as Dakshineshwar Rani Rashmoni Skywalk, Miss Banerjee recalled how three political parties misinformed hawkers and held a convention against construction of the skywalk. The matter was even dragged to the High Court, she said and thanked the judges for allowing the construction.
Dakshineshwar is an international religious spot and it was not developed in the past as there was nobody to think about it, she said.
The work for Dakshineswar- Noapara metro was going on in full swing and when completed it will connect Dakshineshwar with northern and southern Kolkata.
The skywalk has space for 137 stalls and Miss Banerjee directed the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple Trust trust to hand over the stalls to the hawkers through lottery within seven days.
She asked the trust to maintain the skywalk and award those hawkers who keep the premises cleanliest. She also suggested deploying 50 workers from Kamarhati Municipality for cleaning the temple premises daily.
A separate Bhog ghar is being constructed in the temple premises and the tendering process for the light and sound show depicting the temple’s history has been completed.
Miss Banerjee asked KMDA to study the feasibility of constructing a skywalk at Kalighat Temple and said that similar skywalks would be constructed at other pilgrim sites.
The skywalk, connecting the suburban railway station with the Kali temple that draws nearly 1.4 crore devotees annually, will be thrown open to the public on Tuesday.
Earlier, Miss Banerjee walked to the temple premises and offered puja before the deity.
State urban development and municipal affairs minister Firad Hakim said, the skywalk which was Miss Banerjee’s brainchild is the first of its kind in the country. It is 380 metres long and 10.5 metres wide.
It links the traffic rotary and the entrance gates of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple compound with a provision for 14 escalators, four elevators and eight staircases to allow devotees and users to embark and disembark. Each elevator can accommodate 20 people at a time. The skywalk possesses necessary fire fighting apparatus including fire alarm and water sprinklers. Started in 2015, the total cost of the skywalk was Rs 65 crore.
State ministers Jyotipriyo Mullick, Bratya Basu, Sadhan Pande, MP Sougata Roy were present on the occasion.
Mr Kushal Choudhury, general secretary of Dakshineshwar Kali Temple Trust, thanked Miss Banerjee for the idea of the skywalk as it would benefit the devotees visiting Dakshineshwar.